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Irish eyes are smiling in Center Moriches

The Tara Pipes & Drums bagpipe group marches

The Tara Pipes & Drums bagpipe group marches through Main Street in Center Moriches in the town’s 10th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (March 11, 2012) Credit: Michael Cusanelli

Patrick Burke stood with his son on his shoulders as they watched the brightly colored floats and emerald garbed parade-goers march along Main Street in Center Moriches on Sunday.

His wife, Jennifer, and daughter stood nearby as the crowd around them craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the town’s 10th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

“The parade is awesome,” said Jennifer Burke, 38, of East Moriches. “We come every year. It’s a family tradition.”

The parade began in 2003 at the suggestion of a local merchant, and quickly became a yearly tradition for those living in the Moriches area.

More than 5,000 people lined Main Street as nearly 50 organizations marched along the parade route. Green confetti floated through the air as pipe and drum bands played, classic cars decked out in emerald shamrocks rolled by, and kids wearing tall green hats and shamrock glasses skipped along Main Street.

“I think this was our most successful parade,” said Arthur Gerhauser, the parade chairman and vice president of the Moriches Chamber of Commerce.

He was thankful for the warm weather this year, as previous parades had been marked by cold and heavy rains.

“The best part of today is the weather,” said Kevin McClay, 47, of East Moriches. “It’s important to support the community. It’s a good experience for the children.”

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