St. Patricka��s Day Parades are more than just the show

Photo by Nikita RamosPhoto by Nikita Ramos

By Nikita Ramos and Kunal Kohli

Fire engines wailed through Lake Avenue adorned in green shamrock stickers as fire captains waved their hands through the windows of their trucks. Streets were closed off from Woodlawn Avenue to the St. James Gazebo. A�

St. Pattys Day from Nikita Ramos on Vimeo.

Marge Ford sat on a platform off of the main road. The sun lit her green garb as she focused on the music streaming from the bagpipes and Irish pipers.

a�?How often do you see pipers? Usually you see bands,a�? Ford, a resident of Kinga��s Park said. She sat alongside the paraded streets as her favorite part drew near.

a�?St. Patricka��s Day is special because you get to see the Irish pipers,a�? she said.

The 32nd annual St. Patricka��s Day parade flooded the streets of the small hamlet, uniting a communityA�after the cold winter season

a�?Everyone is Irish for the day,a�? Kerry Maher, Director of the St. James St. Patricka��s Day Parade, said. a�?Also it is a community day, it is a thing to bring everybody in St. James and the surrounding communities together just for a fun day in the streets.a�?

Maher said that the good weather that day attracted a crowd of over 5,000 attendees.

St. Patricka��s Day parades across Long Island are more than connecting with Irish roots. Everyone can share an Irish ethnicity on this occasion.

Bill Davey watched his grandsona��s eyes light up as the different floats passed.

a�?All the friends and the neighbors you havena��t seen all winter are standing here and walking by and saying hello,a�? Davey said. a�?Ita��s a nice way to get people out of the house and talking to each other and not on some electronic device.a�?

The parades across Long Island have a goal of giving back to the community by spotlighting businesses.

7-Eleven saw an increase in business on the day of the parade. Store clerk Nary Said reported that the parade brings more customers to the store.

Although the parade can help businesses, Shannon Montalbano, a hairstylist at Sivanna A�Hair Salon in St. James, said that the mass of people kept customers from coming into the salon.

Some communities focus on bringing businesses into the spotlight through their parades.

The mission of the Rockville Centrea��s St. Patricka��s Day Parade is to contribute to the good and welfare of the residents and businesses of the village, according to their website.

Rockville Centrea��s parade committee posted on its site that it remains dedicated to promote and financially support three charities, which include National, Irish and local ones.

The Grand Marshall is generally a well-respected person from the particular area who leads a St. Patricka��s Day Parade up front. Each year, parades across Long Island from Rockville Centre, Kings Park to Montauk nominate a Grand Marshall.

a�?Each year we have vintage cars that carry our seniors in the parade,a�? Sue Alvar, a committee member of the Kinga��s Park Parade, said. a�?My favorite thing about the impact the parade has on people and our community is the honoring of the senior citizens who have contributed so much to our community.a�?