The 21st annual St. Pat’s Parade for All steps off Sunday in Sunnyside led by the Pipers of the FDNY leading more than 120 registered groups and 2,000 marchers up Skillman Avenue to Woodside.
The all-inclusive parade began in 1999 with the exclusion of the Irish LGBT group Lavender & Green Alliance from the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan as well as other Irish parades in the five boroughs.
“Out of the experience of exclusion throughout the city we created this annual gathering of welcome and celebration of Irish culture,” St. Pat’s for All co-founder Brendan Fay said.
The Grand Marshals are Johanna Flores of Hour Children and recording artist Mick Moloney. Flores has been the coordinator of “Hour Working Women’s Program” since she joined the Long Island City-based nonprofit in 2008.
Moloney has recorded and produced more than 40 albums of traditional Irish music and taught in NYU’s Irish Studies program.
“St. Pat’s for All brings us together in a joyful celebration of welcome and solidarity,” Fay said. “In these anxious times immigrant and LGBT communities welcome our spirit of inclusion. Our parade is a reminder of the cultural gifts the immigrants always bring.”
Fay is an Astoria resident from Drogheda, County Louth. Kathleen Walsh-Darcy, a community organizer, feminist and human rights activist from Astoria is St. Pat’s for All’s co-founder.
“This year’s parade is part of a national movement for change,” Walsh-Darcy said. “Our motto says it all. We cherish all the children of the world and we work for a better future for them.”
Music and speeches begin at noon at Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street, with the parade kicking off at 1 p.m. Following the parade there will be an Irish music festival at six neighborhood bars: Jack’s Fire Department, Bar 43, The Gaslight, Maggie Mae’s, The Courtyard Ale House and McGuinness’s Saloon.
“Sunnyside and Woodside are incredibly diverse neighborhoods where people turn what could be potential divides — religion, culture, nationality — into bridges to friendship and understanding,” Sunnyside Shines Executive Director Jaime-Faye Bean said. “The St. Pat’s for All Parade is a beautiful realization of that spirit.”