St. Patrick's Day Parade Will March Saturday, Despite Sandy's Wrath
Annual county parade is set for Saturday, March 9 in Seaside Heights
Another sign of recovery at the Jersey Shore, the Ocean County St. Patrick's Day Parade will continue its annual march through Seaside Heights on Saturday.
"We're very ready for it," said parade committee chairman Denis Kelly. "Wear your green to celebrate."
Participants will march north on the Boulevard beginning at 12 p.m. The mid-week Nor'easter did not impact the parade and it will go on as planned, Kelly said.
Organizers expect 50,000 spectators to watch thousands of participants from over 150 organizations march in the 29th annual family-oriented parade, Kelly said. Among those represented will be Boy and Girl Scouts, veterans, local high school bands and Irish heritage groups.
"We're going to have a big crowd," Kelly said, adding that more spectators than usual might come out to support the recovery of the Jersey Shore following Superstorm Sandy.
The parade is seen as the start of the tourism season at the Shore, and many of the Seaside businesses battered by Sandy will be open to greet the crowds. Fittingly, the theme of the 2013 parade is celebrating and restoring New Jersey.
"Tourism is the way to get them back on their feet," Kelly said. "This gives them a reason to come."
"This year, more than ever, we will help to Restore the Shore and bring people into the region to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and celebrate the resilience of the Jersey Shore," organizers have said.
Kelly encouraged locals to support the theme of this year's parade by donating to the New Jersey Relief Fund, a non-profit organization chaired by First Lady Mary Pat Christie.
Spectators should arrive early to secure a parking spot, but Kelly said that most parking lots should be ready for use. Prior to the parade, an Irish mass will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 100 Grant Ave.
Kelly is hopeful for good weather Saturday, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s.