The 18th renewal of the all-inclusive celebration of St. Patrick’s Day will be led by two grand marshals: television icon Phil Donahue and human rights advocate Anastasia Somoza.
St. Pat’s for All began in 2000 as an alternative to the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, at a time when LGBT groups were prohibited from marching by the organizers, the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Even as LGBT groups have been permitted to march in the Manhattan parade in recent years, the St. Pat’s for All Parade has grown into one of the largest celebrations of Irish heritage in Queens, attracting thousands of participants and numerous elected officials each year.
As noted on the event’s official website, the St. Pat’s for All Parade theme borrows from a line in 1916 Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic: “Cherishing all the children of the nation equally.”
Donahue might be one of the most notable figures to lead the St. Pat’s for All Parade as a grand marshal. For nearly 30 years, his eponymous daytime talk show attracted millions of viewers nationally and internationally, earning him an array of television awards. After ending his show in 1996, he produced a number of award-winning television news specials and documentaries.
Somoza, a daughter of a mother from Ireland and a father from Nicaragua, is a longtime supporter of the parade that now honors her as a grand marshal. She gained national attention for her prime time speech during the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in support of rights for disabled Americans. Somoza is a consultant with the Shield Institute, a group dedicated to helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The 2017 St. Pat’s for All Parade begins at 1 p.m. on March 5 at the corner of Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street with a brief ceremony. Marchers will step off at 2 p.m. from the location and head east along Skillman Avenue to 56th Street, then turn north on 56th Street to Woodside Avenue and back east on Woodside Avenue to 58th Street, where the parade concludes.
Click here for additional information on the St. Pat’s for All Parade.