By Jeff Sovelove
Even Mother Nature was smiling on Saturday, shining bright sunshine on the 40th annual
Morris County St. Patrick’s Parade in Morristown.
“For me, the parade is always the first sign of spring. Forget about Groundhog Day. This means spring is right around the corner and it’s a great day for the Irish. Everyone here is Irish today,” said parade announcer Mike Philbrick.
“It was awesome,” echoed Grand Marshal Father Patrick “Paddy” O’Donovan, pastor of Notre Dame of Mt. Carmel Church in Cedar Knolls.
“The parade for me was just a magnificent display of all of the services that go on in this wonderful county. You see them all on display in one moment but they seem to do it in their own quiet way in corners of Morris County that we hardly even know of. Here they are on full display on a wonderful day, St. Patrick’s Day, with the sun shining,” he said.
Thousands of green-attired spectators lined South Street for two hours to cheer for more than 120 groups and organizations in the line of march, as temperatures soared into the balmy upper 40s.
Slideshow photos by Jeff Sovelove. Click/ hover on images for captions:
Mayor Tim Dougherty and First Lady Mary Dougherty marched, of course, and the parade attracted some other pretty well known officials, too– Gov. Phil Murphy, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11th Dist.) and state Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-25th Dist.).
Paddy and the Pale Boys provided a warmup of traditional Irish music with a modern twist, to start things off on a rousing note.
Ruth Gerner then gave a stirring interpretation of the National Anthem, followed by a 21- gun salute by American Legion Post 390 of Denville. Historian Bill Rogers of Drew University spoke about the 100th Anniversary of the 1919 War of Independence in Soloheadence, in Ireland’s County Tipperary.
Videos by Jeff Sovelove for MorristownGreen.com. Toggle through playlist by clicking icon at left:
Step dancers of the Wick Hegarty, An Clar, Lenahan and Heritage Irish Dance Schools really got things going, dancing together for the first time ever. Morristown High School students gave the crowd a preview of their musical The Addams Family, which premieres on March 22, 2019.
Slideshow photos by Katharine Boyle. Click/ hover on images for captions:
The Thomas Jefferson/Sussex Avenue School Band closed out the pre-parade entertainment with a concert showcasing their talents, much to the delight of parents in the audience.
Michael Carroll did the traditional chalking of the shamrocks, with kids pitching in to help. A green, messy, chalky time was had by all.
Noah, 4, of Montville, seemed to speak for all of the small fry when he said he liked the music and floats — and especially the hot dogs and pretzels.
But, as luck would have it, everyone was Irish on this day.