Over the next two weeks, the East End will celebrate St. Patrick's Day, a time of the year that's become a special season in the hearts, minds, and spirits of locals and visitors alike.
The first of several parades is this Saturday in Westhampton Beach.
The Westhampton Beach St. Patrick's Day Parade committee announced Quogue resident Donna Conti will serve as grand marshal at Saturday's 47th annual parade.
Conti, a woman the committee deemed "a community servant," is the tenth woman to take the lead in the parade's history. She is the third member of her family to do so, after her father Jim Gohery in 1995 and her brother-in-law Seth Allan in 2009.
"She's a great choice and the parade committee is proud to have Donna as our 48th ever grand marshal," said parade committee president Tim Laube in an announcement. "Donna brings an intense energy level to any project she gets involved with, whether it's working with the booster club, coaching or as a Conehead, she gets it done."
As a "Conehead," Conti is part of a secret group of locals that every year finds a unique way to work current events, social commentary, politics and other themes into whatever the respective theme of the parade is. And they do so while barbecuing a pig on the parade route. Usually, the Coneheads' fun and spirited floats win top prize.
Following the tradition of the parade's past Grand Marshals, Conti got to select the parade's theme. For this year, the theme is Dream Green.
This year's parade will step off from the Westhampton Beach Elementary School on Mill Road and end on Main Street near Sunset Avenue. Parade is slated to start on Saturday at noon.
Other Paddy's parades are scattered around the East End this month.
The sixth annual Am-O-Gansett Parade, dubbed "the world's shortest parade," is also on Saturday, starting at 12:02 PM. See elsewhere in this issue for more details.
The North Fork Chamber of Commerce hosts its tenth annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday. Step off is 2 PM. The parade runs from Cox Lane to Case's Lane in Cutchogue.
Saturday will also feature a traditional Irish dinner with the 11th annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner at the Point Bar & Grill from 5:30 to 8:30 PM in Montauk. Tickets are $15 per person, $10 for children. The evening, hosted by the Montauk Friends of Erin, will include music by Todd the Guitar Guy and raffles and prizes will round out the night.
As March marches on, Hampton Bays, Jamesport and Montauk will host lively processions on March 22 and March 23, respectively. The Hampton Bays parade starts at the Hampton Bays Elementary School on Ponquogue Avenue and continues to Montauk Highway, moving west to the reviewing stand and ending in the Hampton Atrium parking lot. Trophies will be awarded to the following categories: best pipe and drum band, best marching unit, best float, and best youth group. Goes from 11 AM to 3 PM.
On March 22, beginning at 1 PM, Jamesport plays hosts to its first Paddy's parade, with a route stretching from Washington Avenue to George Young Community Center.
Moving to the second largest parade in New York, the 52nd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will kick off from Edgemere Road at 11:30 AM on Sunday, March 23. Beforehand, the Montauk Chamber of Commerce will serve hot clam chowder at 10 AM on the green.