62nd Annual West Orange Parade Set To Kick Off on Sunday, March 10, at 12:15 pm
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 • 10:40pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ – The 62nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in West Orange will be turning the town green on Sunday, March 10, beginning at 12:15 p.m. at Town Hall.
Led by Grand Marshal John McKeon and Deputy Marshals Barbara Hughes and Michael Merwin, the Parade will travel up Main Street and end at Our Lady of Lourdes. Along the way, thousands of township residents and visitors will cheer and enjoy the marchers, the bagpipes, and the pride of a community that has long respected and honored its Irish roots. Parties, events, and pubs around town will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, offering corned beef and cabbage, beers, and a good time of celebration. The parade has always been considered a family friendly event and a highlight of the township’s yearly celebrations.
Newer residents to West Orange may not be aware of the Parade’s storied roots. The Irish American Society of the Oranges and the Frank O’Hara Association originally conceived the idea for the parade. The organization marched south along the west side of Main Street to what is now the CVS parking lot. There, they would get on board buses that would take them to the Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The parade was expanded in West Orange in 1974 and marchers traveled to Town Hall. The Parade Committee was formed in 1976 and officially incorporated in 1977. Today the Parade Committee is comprised of many of the children and grandchildren that originally began the parade. In the past several years, the parade’s combination of community, history, size, and dignity has established it as one of the premier St. Patrick’s Day parades in New Jersey. A very special component of the West Orange Parade is The Parade Mass, which will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes at 9:30 a.m. Marchers enter the church led by the Shillelagh Pipe Band. The Mass celebrates the spiritual roots of the Irish American community and its location is rotated yearly, involving the Parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of the Valley, Our Lady of the Lake and St. Joseph's.
On Feb. 24, the Parade’s Investiture Ceremony was held at Mayfair Farms. It is at the investiture that the Grand Marshal and Deputy Grand Marshals are sworn in and receive their sashes. All former parade honorees are also recognized. United States senators, governors, congressmen, and other elected officials have participated in the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It has grown in popularity because of the Family atmosphere that has been provided and the family traditions it has fostered. New Jersey's "Family Parade" will continue to grow as its respectful traditions allows Irish‐Americans to demonstrate their Pride in their heritage and culture in a dignified forum.
The Parade Committee raises funds to mount the parade each year through innovative marketing with an Ad Journal, Flags, banners, posters, websites, pins, corporate sponsorships. etc. Women as well as men are honored and boasts the first female Grand Grand Marshal and first female Chairman of any Parade in the State.
Stephanie O’Hara Gallo is this year’s parade chairman. Stephanie is the granddaughter of Frank O’Hara and is especially excited about this year’s parade, as it will acknowledge The Frank O’Hara Association’s 80th Anniversary. The association will be donning old time dress (morning suits and top hats) to march in Sunday’s parade. Local residents may be interested to know that the O’Hara Family has also owned and operated O’Hara Electric on Main Street since 1963.
The weather report for Sunday appears good with temperatures expected in the mid-50s. The green line along Main Street is painted; the signs are up and the final details are being put in place. Don’t miss what has become a great source of pride for the entire township of West Orange as the community celebrates St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, March 10. The West Orange Alternative Press will provide the community with additional information later this week and will be covering the parade on Sunday.
For more information, go to www.westorangeparade.com.