Three months ago, the idea of holding a St. Patrick’s Day in Jamesport was just that: only a thought.
But after weeks of hurried preparation, a series of rushed moves to raise funds and support from local politicians and businesses, hundreds lined along Main Road Saturday afternoon and watched the East End Emerald Society’s parade march by, the first St. Patrick’s parade in Jamesport.
Now, the newly formed group is looking to use the success of the parade as a springboard toward setting up scholarships for East End students.
“It’s not over today,” said founding member Walter McGee as the parade wrapped up. “We’re going to continue to have charity events and fundraisers … This gets us started.”
The parade kicked off at 1 p.m., with members of the Emerald Society and the Jamesport Fire Department kicking off the festivities. As horses decked out in green hats and marching bands walked by, attendees said they were glad to be a part of what they hope will be a new local tradition.
“We always went to all the other towns because Riverhead never had [a parade],” said resident John Cook as he held his 19-month-old son in his arms. “I think it’s wonderful. We’re looking forward to watching it grow.”
Mr. Cook’s 5-year-old daughter, Giselle, said her favorite part of the parade was when the fire trucks blared their sirens and “all the noises came out.”
Drew and Tiffanni Averette took their baby boy Thomas to the parade, his first one.
“It’s nice to have more parades out here,” Mr. Averette said in front of Duffy’s Deli.
Across the street, Maggie Byrne of Jamesport was making her way through the crowd. Her family — descendants of Irish immigrants — settled in Jamesport because of how closely it resembled her home country, she said.
She was excited to see so many people at the event.
“Oh, it’s a great idea,” she said.
Ms. Byrne said she went to the 10th annual Cutchogue St. Patrick’s Day parade last week but declared “this [one] is almost as spirited.”
Town Supervisor Sean Walter, members of the Town Board and Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo were also in attendance, and handed proclamations to the parade’s first grand marshall, 88-year-old Jack Cuddy.
Mr. Walter declared his hope that the parade will hopefully grow to surpass Montauk as the premier St. Patrick’s Day parade on the East End.
Mr. McGee, the parade organizer, said it’s that kind of endorsement that will make his group’s job easier in the months to come.
“It gives us legitimacy,” he said. “All we want to do is promote the health and wellbeing of the East End.”