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Photo via Flickr/jwpearce
Photo via Flickr/jwpearce

Bring out the Irish in you at this home-grown celebration in Bayside next month.

The first Bayside Saint Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on March 24, beginning at 10 a.m. The family-friendly event will run along Bell Boulevard between 36th and 41st Avenues and celebrate Irish heritage and culture.

Kieran Mahoney, a Bayside local and one of the event organizers, told QNS that close to 20 community groups will participate in the parade. Irish pipe bands and dance schools, as well as groups from local institutions including Holy Cross High School, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy and Sacred Heart Catholic Academy of Bayside, are among the groups slated to march.

Due to a strong response from local groups, organizers had to move up the date to accept applications to march.

“We’re getting larger than we expected,” Mahoney said. “I’m not completely surprised at the response, but I am surprised about just how many people want to be involved and have reached out to us.”

Mahoney first spoke to QNS in October, when the parade was still in the planning stages. Since then, the event has been cemented and grown to an “overwhelming level.”

“It definitely has grown much more since our original conversation” the organizer noted. “For the first year, it really has been unbelievable.”

Over the last few months, Mahoney and other members of the Bayside St. Patrick’s Day Committee have organized a series of events to either raise funds or “keep the momentum going” leading up to the event. In January, around 250 attendees attended a dinner dance at VIVO! Mediterranean Grill & Catering celebrating the parade honorees. A series of Irish music events continue to take place at local bar and eatery, Monahan & Fitzgerald.

A number of local businesses have also signed on as event sponsors.

The grand marshal for the parade is Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYCPBA) President Pat Lynch. March aides are Mary McCauley, Jeff Reinhart, Francis McLoughlin, Fr. Robert Whelan and Frank Talty. Plans are being made to produce a program, which will list all community participants and be distributed the day of the event.

The public is invited to attend the free community event. Those interested in learning more or getting event updates should visit the group’s Facebook page or contact Mahoney at mahoneybayside[at]gmail.com. A website is in the works.

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