Despite the blustery winds and rain, hundreds of people gathered along the streets of Rockville Centre last Saturday to celebrate the village’s 25th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade tradition dates back to March 22, 1997, and has continued to grow over the years to become one of the largest and most supported St. Patrick’s Day events outside New York City.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no parade in 2020 or 2021. Things only just returned to normal last year, when Ellen White, co-founder of the Backyard Players and Friends, served as the parade’s grand marshal.
While the weather wasn’t ideal, it didn’t stop anyone from celebrating. Firefighters, elected officials, local businesses, and organizations — particularly those celebrating Irish heritage, like the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and shops like Kathleen’s of Donegal — wore green outfits and celebrated the spirit of the season.
“Everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day,” Parade Grand Marshal Tommy McNicholas told the Herald. “I just enjoy seeing all the smiling faces of people along the way. All the different people come together. Getting to see all the old cars and fire trucks, listening to the bands, and watching people dance. There’s nothing like that view when you’re marching.”
Since its inception, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has helped distribute more than $1.4 million to 70 charities around the world. Earning its nickname as “the Parade that Shares and Cares,” the event continued that tradition by raising money for three charitable organizations — one local, one national, and one based in Ireland. This year the money went to the Ryan Patrick O’Shea Foundation, HELP Uganda, and the St. Laserian’s School in Ireland.
“Each year we help raise money for charity,” McNicholas said. “For me, that’s what it’s all about.”