Lindenhurst hosts its first St. Patrick's Day parade
The luck of the Irish finally made it to Lindenhurst on Saturday as the village celebrated its first St. Patrick’s Day parade ever.
Thousands of jubilant spectators turned out to partake in the festivities, cheering and clapping as the boisterous procession streamed down Wellwood Avenue for nearly a mile.
“This is brilliant,” said one of the main organizers of the event, Dave Crowe, an Irish native and the owner of Belfast Gastropub. Over 60 groups were marching, from fire departments to pipe bands, to local youth teams and businesses.
Among the participants, 72-year-old Owen Loof, stood apart in a snazzy, green shamrock suit, complete with a green hat and shoes.
Loof, who is from Rockaway Beach in Queens, said he couldn’t miss the historic event. “When I heard it was the first one here, I said I have to go.”
“It was one of the best turnouts I’ve ever seen” Loof said, adding that he also knew former congressman Peter King, the grand marshal.
The Village of Lindenhurst was incorporated in 1923 and one of its founders was Irish immigrant Thomas Welwood, but plans for a parade didn’t kick off until last year, when Crowe and Village Trustee RJ Renna created a nonprofit to run the event.
“I am amazed by the size of the crowd. I am so proud to represent Lindenhurst. It was a great demonstration,” said King, who was the grand marshal of the NYC parade in 1985.
Local officials hoped the parade would not only drum up a sense of community but also help drive some business into the local downtown area.
“Give yourselves a hand, let’s go,” Lindenhurst Mayor Michael Lavorata told the crowd as pipe bands later played tunes such as “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “The Wearing of the Green.”
For Lindenhurst resident Joseph Danaher, a member of the Amityville American Legion Pipe Band, participating in his hometown’s first parade made it extra memorable. “The crowd of people is amazing and awesome. It’s good to see neighbors and friends,” Danaher said.
There was also a solemn moment when children from the Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church marched and stopped to pray while holding “We Stand With Ukraine” signs.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone marched with other elected officials. “It’s amazing that it’s taking this long to have a celebration like this, but I think this is something that will become a huge tradition here,” Bellone said.