SEASIDE HEIGHTS – More than a wee bit of bad weather in the forecast has caused the postponement of the March 11 Ocean County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade to next month.
Due to expected inclement weather, parade organizers reported the event has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 1,
Traditionally, the parade is held on the second Saturday of March allowing for the Belmar St. Patrick’s Day Parade which began before Ocean County’s parade honoring Saint Patrick and Irish heritage, to kick off the holiday season.
The event was plagued by bad weather last year as well and pushed back to April. The festive event starts at noon, and proceeds northward up the green lined Boulevard in the borough.
Stepping off between I and J streets in Seaside Park it moves toward Hiering Avenue before the Massed Band gathering at the Hershey Motel, 1415 Boulevard, where the parade committee presents a 40-foot American flag.
“On this day, as we honor St. Patrick and celebrate the Irish-American heritage, let us have fun but keep the parade dignified,” Parade Chairman Thomas King stated last year. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the parade from taking place in 2021.
It had taken place on March 7, 2020 and a few days later the state and much of the country was in lockdown. Despite a postponement last year, the event gained a large crowd. As per tradition the parade featured several longstanding traditions, including a parade Mass prior to the event and the Massed Band at the end of the parade.
The parade Mass which would have returned once again on Saturday having been celebrated for 40 years, traditionally starts at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 100 Grant Ave.
Klee’s Irish Pub was already packed by 11 a.m. in 2022 and was among those local businesses that sponsor a band. Ryan’s Deli and Grill, another fixture on the borough boulevard was preparing corn beef sandwiches for those parade participants and spectators who wanted a spot of lunch before noon.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes, some wearing green attire and at least one bulldog in a leather motorcycle jacket, joined their owners watching last year’s parade.
Other familiar favorites of the parade include the Women of Irish Heritage of West Orange as well as the WOIH Jersey Shore chapter, the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Ocean County Chapter, the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Jackson Township and the Ocean County Pipes and Drums.
Another tradition is the post-parade party held at the Hershey Motel in the borough which features an Irish music performance band. Last year the Ballyhaunis was the featured entertainment.