STORY AND PHOTOS BY MARIA MIRAKAJ BROWNSELL
The color green flooded the streets this past Sunday in Pearl River. Thousands of locals and out-of-towners crowded the sidewalks for the town’s 51st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade sponsored by the Men and Women of the Rockland County Ancient Order of the Hibernians.
Although the parade originally was in other Rockland County towns beginning in 1963, it has found its home in Pearl River since 1974. It is always the Sunday after the New York City parade and is the second biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York State.
At the front of the parade was Purple Heart recipient Sgt. Kieran Murphy as the parade commander. Other honorees of the parade include Monsignor Edward J. Weber who was the Grand Marshal for the parade. Christopher Cawley was honored as an aid to the Grand Marshal. Teresa Morris, who is the 2012 Hibernian of the year, and Hibernian businessman Emmett Woods, owner of Emmett’s Castle, were also honored.
There were many regulars at the parade, with their usual spots staked out for hours before it started. But there were also many newcomers this year.
“We love it. This is our first year. We just moved here. We used to live in Throgs Neck. They had a parade but I think this one is bigger. I can’t believe so many people came out since it’s so cold,” said Bonnie of Pearl River.
“This is our first time here. It’s interesting,” said Jessica Fallon with her sister Brianne.
“We’re having fun,” added friend Christina.
Within the parade there were many different types of marchers. There were fire fighters, marching bands, boy and girl scouts, church groups, police honor guards, dance groups, politicians, bag pipers and so many others.
“It’s a fun day to spend with friends,” said Sara Giannattasio with her husband Joe.
Many friends lined the streets and also the bars that had long lines to get in. There were scores of unsteady people moving around and the ambulance was ready on location. Even though St. Patrick’s Day is often associated with drinking, that definitely wasn’t the only reason people came to town.
“We love St. Patrick’s Day!” shouted Sean Crowe with his parents John, Emily, and brother, Jack.