Things will be getting pretty Irish in the Town of Riverhead from late February into March, as the East End Emerald Society gears up for its second annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jamesport on March 28, which is expected to be bigger than last year’s inaugural parade.
In addition to the parade, the East End Emerald Society also is planning a reception on Saturday, Feb. 21 to formally introduce its grand marshal for the parade, Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith.
That event will be held from 7-10 p.m. at Jason’s Vineyard on Main Road in Jamesport. Admission is $25.
Mr. Smith was chosen as this year’s grand marshal because of his history of giving back to the community, according to East End Emerald Society Trustee John Cuddy.
Mr. Smith has been a town justice since 2000. He served as town supervisor in the late ’70s and was a town attorney prior to that. He also served on the Riverhead Board of Education for several years in the ’90s, he’s been a member of the Riverhead Fire Department since 1978 and he’s been a longtime member of the Riverhead Rotary Club.
“It’s an absolute honor to be named Grand Marshal and it’s going to be a hoot,” Mr. Smith said on Saturday, where he and members of Emerald Society trustees gathered at the Peconic Bay Diner to discuss plans for the parade. “We going to have a lot of fun and I hope people show up and enjoy themselves.”
Mr. Smith said one of the things he hopes to do is have his grandson, Liam, with him in the parade.
“He’s my leprechaun,” he said. “He had a map of Ireland written across his face.”
The East End Emerald Society also will be a beneficiary of the “The March of the Leprechauns,” a pub crawl which is also being called “Lepre-Con,” a play on the popular “SantaCon” pub crawls.
It’s being organized by the Suffolk Theater on March 7 and the Emerald Society and Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach will be the beneficiaries of the event, according to Mr. Cuddy, who said they will use the money to pay the pipe and drum bands that march in their parade.
The event starts at 1 p.m. and participants, who are expected to dress in “all things Irish,” can buy $10 tickets at participating bars and restaurants, which will have various specials and promotions.
The parade itself starts at 1 p.m. in Jamesport on Saturday, March 28, and the route will go from Washington Avenue to the Jamesport Fire Department.
Last year’s parade was the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Riverhead Town, and while it had an impressive showing and a lot of participants, it didn’t have a pipe band, something Mr. Cuddy says will be different this year.
“We’ve already signed contracts with the Suffolk County Police Emerald Society Pipe Band, and the Long Ireland Pipes and Drum,” Mr. Cuddy said.
This year’s parade is expected to be bigger than the inaugural event, Mr. Cuddy said.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from all over,” he said. “We got an email this morning from the New Hyde Park Fire Department and they want to come and march in the parade. So the spectrum has broadened.”
Mr. Cuddy said the parade date won’t be in conflict with any other St. Patrick’s Day parades in the area.
Last year’s parade was on the same day at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hampton Bays.