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Kings Park woman starts St. Patrick's Day parade, now leads it

Gerry Creighton, 75, of Kings Park, is the

Gerry Creighton, 75, of Kings Park, is the grand marshal of the second annual Kings Park St. Patrick's Day parade. In this picture, she stands with her husband, Smithtown Town Councilman Bob Creighton.
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(Credit: Handout)

From learning how to stepdance and play the fiddle to always being the first to make soda bread, Gerry Creighton has always been immersed in her Irish culture.

It’s no wonder she was named the grand marshal for the second annual Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day parade this year.

“[It’s] just to show the pride in their hometown and their heritage,” Creighton said of the parade. “It’s an honor to all of the Irish that came here before us and really made this town what it is.”

Creighton, 75, has been a lifelong resident of Kings Park, and started the parade two years ago because she, along with some neighbors, wondered why such an Irish town as Kings Park didn’t have a parade.

“It’s an awful lot of work,” Creighton said. “Our parents were wise to that. They went to the city to see the parade, or Huntington.”

But the first one was very successful, and she said this year’s parade will top that.

“We’re very excited,” Creighton said. “This will be a big, big event in Kings Park.”

The parade, which will kick off at noon Saturday on the corner of Lou Avenue and Pulaski Road, will feature 102 groups, 19 of which are bands.

“Gerry is a very hard worker,” said Ed Reddy, who, along with his wife Ruth, of Kings Park, will be joining Creighton as an aide in the parade. “She’s done so much.”

Her Irish heritage has always been important to her because of her mother, who migrated from Ireland in the 1920’s to find work. Because of this, Creighton, along with her husband Bob, a Smithtown Town Councilman, have passed it on to her five children and her nine grandchildren. Whether it was listening to Irish music or eating corned beef and cabbage, they were acknowledging their roots.

“It was just a very big part of lives,” her daughter Denise Creighton said of her culture. “It continues with her grandchildren. It was something she felt was very important, that tradition of pride for our heritage.”

Many say she deserves this honor as grand marshal. Kevin Denis, parade president, said it’s “for all of the things she’s done for the community.”

For Creighton being grand marshal and being so involved in the parade is just a way to give back.

“[My mother] worked here and lived here all her life and I just think this is such an honor for her, and all Irish women who came to Kings Park,” Creighton said. “This was a very Irish town, and they all started families and they really made Kings Park what it is. A great town.”

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