Green lollipops. Green necklace beads. Tall green hats.
It was all about wearing green and celebrating the Irish culture on Saturday during the 17th annual Bay Shore Brightwaters St. Patrick’s Parade. Residents from across Islip lined Montauk Highway, dressed in Celtic green, and waved as the parade participants strolled by.
Community organizations, local bands and even an all-girl Irish dance group were part of the array of parade walkers who handed out beads and tossed lollipops into the crowd. Children scrambled to pick up the sweet treats and the adults watched with glee.
Although it was a chilly afternoon, that didn’t stop one Brightwaters man from enjoying the event.
“I don’t care about the wind; it’s still a great parade,” said Daniel Spoilers of Brightwaters.
The parade route started at the corner of Saxon Avenue and Montauk Highway, then proceeded west almost 2 miles and ended at St. Patrick’s Church on North Clinton Avenue. This year’s parade grand marshals were Michael Korb and Peter McCarthy of Captain Bill’s Restaurant in Bay Shore.
Many who attended say they come to the parade every year.
Islip Terrace resident Constance Michaels said coming to the parade was just as big of a tradition in her family as having a turkey on Thanksgiving.
“I was born here, but my in-laws were first-generation Irish immigrants,” Michaels said, green beads adorning her neck. “They came straight here [to New York]. This [the parade] was one of their favorite memories.”
Gina Tempest of Bay Shore said her favorite part of the event was watching the girls from a local Irish dance school perform their routine.
“Their outfits were adorable,” she said. “I hope they had as much fun as I did watching them.”
Bay Shore was just one of several St. Patrick’s Day-themed parades across Long Island on Saturday, when vintage cars, farm animals, and marching bands delighted a crowd along Route 25 in Cutchogue.
On Sunday, Huntington, Bayport and Center Moriches will hold parades.