It happens every year on Long Island: Come a certain holiday, thousands of people celebrate Irish culture by heading out, wearing green, eating, taking in traditional dancing and music – and there are always grand parades to mark the occasion.
Then again, in the “City by the Sea,” it happens twice every year.
March 17 may be the best-known day for most Long Islanders to pause and possibly party in the name of Éire, but in Long Beach, the first Saturday of October is also recognized as a day to do so. It’s called Irish Day, and just like St. Patrick’s Day, the seaside community throws an all-day bash in the name of the Emerald Isle and its culture. This year, the big day is on Oct. 6.
Formally called the Long Beach Irish Heritage Day Parade and Festival, the celebration is now in its 23rd year. The Ancient Order of Hibernians organizes the parade, which will include school bands, bagpipers, representatives of local government, services and businesses, all marching down West Beech Street starting at 11 a.m. from Hibernian Plaza, at West Park Avenue and Washington Boulevard.
The festival also takes place on West Beech Street, from New York Avenue to Connecticut Avenue. The stretch will be closed and tents will be set up for vendors to sell food, drink and clothing, as well as offer entertainment (music, rides, games) until 5 p.m. Several of Long Beach’s most popular restaurants and bars are located in this zone (such as Cabana, Speakeasy, Minnesota’s, The Whale’s Tale, Bahia Social Club, The Saloon, Beach House, Paninis and Bikinis, Shines and Swingbellys), and many in the past have offered deals to coincide with the occasion, so be sure to ask when visiting.
For more details about Irish Day in Long Beach, check out longbeachirishday.org.