Despite some rainy weather, the community still gathered on Sunday, March 6 in Sunnyside for the all-inclusive St. Pat’s For All Parade, now in its 12th year.
“St. Pat’s For All is a generous gathering of youth groups, unions and community groups together for an all-inclusive celebration of Irish heritage,” said Brendan Fay, the co-founder of the parade. “For a few hours, hands, pipers and puppeteers turn the streets of Sunnyside and Woodside into ‘Ireland of the Welcomes.’ Hospitality is at the heart of our celebration.”
Co-chair Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy said, “The St. Pat’s For All Parade embraces everyone young and old in Queens, the most ethnically diverse borough of New York.”
Many elected officials came out to show their support for the event, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who thanked Fay for putting the parade together every year.
“This is a great day for the Irish and for all New Yorkers,” Bloomberg said.
The Sunnyside parade was held the same day as the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which excluded members of the LGBT community from participating. Because of this, many speakers stressed the inclusiveness of St. Pat’s for All. Council Speaker Christine Quinn described it as a place where people can go every March to be “reminded of how great” New York City is.
“Every street in this city is for everyone,” Quinn said.
This year’s grand marshals were Patricia Lewsley, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children & Young People, and James P. Cullen, a human rights advisor to President Obama.
The parade began at 47th Street and Skillman Avenue and ended at 58th Street in Woodside. Prior to the start of the marching, organizers and attendees took time out to remember those who had passed away and made “incredible” contributions to the community.