As the sound of music came closer and closer to Church Street Sunday, everyone who was sitting idly in their lawn chairs and on the curb stood up and leaned toward the road to see what was coming.
What they got was groups of bagpipers and drummers in kilts for the 22nd St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ronkonkoma.
Veterans, Boy and Girl Scouts, local taverns, fire and police departments and students of all ages showed their spirit — not just for the upcoming observance, but for their community.
Kerri Ulmann of Centereach grew up in Ronkonkoma and has been coming to this parade since 1990. Her favorite aspect of the parade has never changed.
“It’s just getting the family together,” said Ulmann, who was there with four generations of her family, including her 2-year-old daughter, Shannon.
Her mother, Maureen Brady, 57, of Ronkonkoma, lives nearby and loves to celebrate her heritage. Brady’s parents, George McCoy, 82, and his wife Teresa, 81, came from Queens to join the family in the parade, dressed in their “Irish Grandma” and “Irish Grandpa” sweatshirts. Afterward they enjoyed corned beef and cabbage Brady prepared for the whole family.
In between the musicians, students and veterans was a convertible driving Little Miss Ronkonkoma, Sophia Cimino, and Little Mr. Ronkonkoma, J.T. Mankowitz. They laughed and waved, and when Sophia saw her dad on the side watching her pass by, she yelled to him.
“She loves it,” Eric Cimino said of his 7-year-old daughter.
Photo: Little Miss Ronkonkoma Sophia Cimino and Little Mr. Ronkonkoma J.T. Mankowitz waved and smiled as they passed their neighbors for the 22nd annual Ronkonkoma St. Patrick's Day Parade. (March 11, 2012)