OCEAN COUNTY – Sadly, the Boulevard in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park will be less green this year. Due to the spread of the coronavirus and conditions which stymied fundraising efforts of the Ocean County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the popular event has been canceled.
A comment by the Parade Committee noted that “although we are all disappointed, the Ocean County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has decided to cancel this year’s parade in Seaside Heights. Let’s hope the luck of the Irish will keep us safe and we’ll be back bigger and better next year.”
The Ocean County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee posted to their Facebook page, their wish for everyone to be safe, that the end of the pandemic will come and that they would be raising “a pint of Guinness next year for St. Patrick’s Day or do it at home this year.”
“This is a sad time for everyone – we are working together to plan future events as soon as possible. Please be safe,” the post added.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many events throughout Ocean County and beyond to be canceled last year, such as the Ocean County Fair.
The Belmar based St. Patrick’s Day Parade which inspired the start of the Ocean County St. Patrick’s Day Parade decades ago, was canceled earlier in the month and by tradition is held the weekend before the Ocean County St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
This would have marked the 37th annual Ocean County St. Patrick’s Day Parade and like years past, would have drawn thousands of spectators to Seaside Heights on the second Saturday of March.
Per tradition, the day begins with a traditional Irish Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on the Boulevard and Grant Avenue with the parade kicking off at noon. The parade features various pipe and drum bands, high school bands, floats, Irish-American organizations from around the county and state and is a setting for Girl Scouts to sell their annual cookie sales while Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts promoted sales of their candy bars.
Last year’s parade grand marshal was Judge Damien Murray and the committee’s Irish Woman of the Year was Mary Kelly, the mother of past parade chairman Denis Kelly who had sung the Irish National Anthem on parade day.
Mayor Anthony Vaz noted that the parade was a popular event in Ocean County and one of his personal favorites as it “kicks off the spring season.”