By Mark Hallum
Bayside will be celebrating its first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Bell Boulevard March 24 with dozens of community groups honoring Irish heritage.
The festivities, set to kick off at around 10 a.m., will travel between 36th and 41st avenues and will feature traditional music, dance and other cultural hallmarks reflecting the values of the Irish community in Bayside.
Inis Fada Pipe and Drum Band based out of Mineola will have 12 to 15 marchers in the parade and will be joined by the MTA PD Pipes and Drums, as well as Molloy High School Pipes and Drums.
“Many of us in the band — including myself — have lived or worked in Bayside and have deep connections with Bayside and Bell Boulevard,” John Graney from Inis Fada said. “Our band has been around for nearly 60 years and we march in the same parades each year. Adding Bayside will be very exciting for us as it is close to our home base in Mineola, and familiar to so many of us. We’re looking forward to meeting new people at Bayside, marching down Bell Boulevard and, of course, the after party.”
Traditional Irish dancers will also grace Bell Boulevard.
The Ciara Greene School of Irish Step Dancing, which holds classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament — located at 34-45 202nd St. — will be joined by the Fitzpatrick Academy of Irish Dance based in Levittown, N.Y.
“We are so excited and happy to be participating,” Ciara Green Erdman, owner of the Ciara Greene School, said. “Our dancers wait all year long to celebrate St. Patrick and show off their hours of hard work in learning and perfecting their amazing Irish Step Dancing skills.”
The Fitzpatrick Academy teaches classes in Middle Village, Woodside and Whitestone.
The grand marshal of the parade will be Pat Lynch who is president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York and he will be followed by march aides Mary McCauley, Jeff Reinhart, Francis McLoughlin, Fr. Robert Whelan and Frank Talty.
Other organizations joining the march will be County Cavan Association, County Down Association, County Mayo Society, County Roscommon Society, Fitzpatrick Academy of Irish Dance, Habitat for Humanity,Hispanic American Court Officers Association, Irish American Center of Queens Nassau, Suffolk and Mineola, North Shore Animal Hospital, North West Bayside Civic Association, Sacred Heart Catholic Academy and Saint Francis Prep High School Irish Club.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall