When Andy Fahy arrived at Flanagan’s Pub in Lake Ronkonkoma late Sunday morning, he said people were waiting to be let in.
“For an Irish pub … this is probably one of the best days of the year for us,” said Fahy, the manager of the bar, which only opened its doors in early January.
The 24th annual Lake Ronkonkoma St. Patrick’s parade served as a sort of christening for the Hawkins Avenue pub, which is located along the parade route. Dozens of revelers sporting green garb gathered inside and on the street, enjoying brews while bagpipers, floats and Irish step dancers passed by.
The pub also had its own leprechaun -- Robert Russell, 50, of Lake Grove -- trolling the streets, collecting donations for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation from the thousands of people who turned out for the roughly 90-minute parade. Russell said the bar will match whatever he collected Sunday and on March 22, it will be holding a head-shaving benefit for the charity, which supports childhood cancer research.
Across the street, Doris Martin, 85, of Lake Grove, also sported a leprechaun costume complete with a fake beard and curly-toed boots. Martin said her next two Sundays were booked with St. Patrick’s Day parades. She usually attends at least three every year on Long Island.
“I always love to dress up and have fun,” she said.
Fahy, 26, originally from Limerick, Ireland, noted that unlike Long Island, his native country only celebrates St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
“If we celebrated it for the entire month like you guys do, the entire country would shut down.”