Samantha DeNunzio was among those who thought it would be a mistake to proceed with the Morris County St. Patrick’s Parade on Saturday, so soon after a storm that dumped two feet of snow in some towns and knocked out power for thousands.
By the time the last piper had marched down Morristown’s South Street, however, she was singing a different tune.
“The mayor did a fantastic job of making everything clear. And I have to say the police and Sheriff’s departments did an excellent job. I feel extremely safe,” said the Morristown resident.
Bundled up with her son Markus, 6, she joined other hardy souls who cheered four divisions of floats and bands, braving icy winds that made the mid-30s temperatures feel colder.
Many of his relatives traveled from Ireland for the occasion. Some paraded in style, in his emerald green fire truck.
“It’s a day I’ll never forget, and will always be grateful for,” said Murphy, who grew up in Morristown’s Little Dublin neighborhood.
Although the weather was frosty and crowds were thinner than usual, “it was a great, great day,” starting with a Mass coordinated by Sister Peters at Assumption Church, and Sara McCabe singing the Irish anthem in Gaelic at the Morristown Green, the Grand Marshal said.
Slideshow photos by Katharine Boyle:
He praised Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, his administration and town public works crews for doing an “incredible job” clearing mountains of snow.
“It’s unbelievable what they pulled off,” Murphy said.
“Morristown is a mess. They should postpone the parade,” Lisa Bataille posted Friday on Morristown Green’s Facebook page.
Others suggested it was wrong to stage a spectacle when many are without electricity and streets across the county remain closed because of downed trees and power lines.
Slideshow photos by Jeff Sovelove
But the parade’s makeup date of March 24, 2018, conflicted with a march for gun law reforms. And organizers said a postponement would result in a smaller parade and fewer proceeds for local charities.
The parade is presented by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Irish American Association of North West Jersey.
Dougherty and organizers said they hoped this year’s parade would bring cheer to those who could use a dose of it after so many weather problems.
Slideshow photos by Bill Lescohier
“I think they were courageous to do it,” said Peter Wall of Mendham.
He and his wife Gwen, who have spent five days in a hotel because of power outages, joined their daughter Beth and her young family on Saturday. “It was a good parade,” said the beaming grandpa.
“I was surprised it went forward,” said Beth Wall, a Morristown resident who brought her son Braden, age 3 1/2.
“But when I saw how much snow they cleared, I thought, ‘We’re good.’ Aside from being cold, it was quite nice.”
Stay tuned for more from the line of march.