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Organizers Get Ready For St. Pat’s For All, as 1,500-2,000 Participants are Expected

Feb. 12, 2014 By Christian Murray

In the 1990s, Brendan Fay attempted to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade along Fifth Ave. under a gay and lesbian group banner. Fay, who is gay, was greeted to a very cool reception. The police pounced, the handcuffs were slapped on and he got the message: not wanted.

So Fay, along with a number of other members of the LGBT community, established the St. Pat’s Day for All parade in 2000–in Sunnyside.

However, since its founding, the parade has morphed into much more than an Irish and gay festival. Hispanic and black groups now march; children’s groups march; seniors march; and so, too, does the local canine club.

The 15th St. Pat’s Day for All parade is scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 2, at 1:00 pm. More than 1,500 participants are expected to make the walk, which will begin at the corner of 47thStreet and Skillman Ave – and end at 58th Street and Woodside Ave. If the weather is good, Fay said the number of participants could reach 2,000.

“Sunnyside and Woodside should be very proud of the parade, since many people from around the world have got to know the neighborhoods because of it,” Fay said. “The parade still remains the city’s only all inclusive St Patrick’s Day celebration.”

The parade has grown since its inception and has become a big family affair. “Hundreds of children march every year,” said Kathleeen Walsh D’Arcy, who is the co-chair of the parade.  This year, she said, more than 150 children who play Gaelic football for Shannon Gaels are expected to participate while many children from scout and youth groups throughout Queens will be marching too, she said.

The parade still maintains its strong Irish roots. This year there will be four pipe bands, dancers from the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, and several traditional Irish musicians from the tri-state area.

The FDNY pipers, which came for the first time last year, will be bringing a larger contingent this year as well as a vintage engine.

There will be giant puppets—with the help of the Puppeteers’ Cooperative in Brooklyn—and the popular stilt walkers who represent Swim Strong, which is a non-profit group that provides swimming lessons at affordable rates.

Fay expects as many as 100 organizations to march—ranging from groups consisting of 2 people to 150 people.

They include:

  • The Keltic Dream Irish Dancers, a group of about 35 African-American children (aged 7-12 year) from PS 59 in the Bronx, who have learned Irish dance
  • Shannon Gaels
  • Girl Scouts of Sunnyside and Woodside
  • American Red Cross Youth
  • School marching bands
  • Sunnyside United Dog Society, whose members walk their dogs in the parade
  •  Senior citizens, representing Sunnyside Community Services
  • Dignity NY
  • Queens lesbian and gay pride committee

Local city and state officials have all confirmed that they will be attending, Fay said. So, too, has the public advocate and city comptroller. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is not going to participate in theFifth Avenue parade due to its exclusion of gay groups, is expected to participate but has not yet confirmed.

Grand Marshals

Fay said former State Sen. Tom Duane and Terry McGovern have been named this year’s grand marshals.

Duanne, a resident of Chelsea, was selected due to his strong commitment to human rights, Fay said.

Duane, who served in the state senate from 1999 to 2012, first introduced New York’s Marriage Equality Act in 2001 and championed other pieces of legislation protecting the LGBT community.

Meanwhile, McGovern founded the HIV Law Project in 1989, where she served as its executive director until 1999, and is now a professor of public health at Columbia University.

Funding

Fay said that parade organizers have a limited budget and expect the event to cost about $12,000. He said the pipe bands cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 each and then there is the cost of a sound system, renting a truck and distributing posters.

Fay said that Councilmen Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer provide some city funding. He said that the group also holds two private fundraisers per year and sells ads in its journal.

Other sources of funding include donations from local businesses.

Not too late to participate

Fay said that there is still plenty of time for groups that are interested in participating in the parade to sign up. He said he wants as many groups as possible to participate– of all backgrounds. “We err on the side of inclusion.”

The Keltic Dream Irish Dancers (Photo: SunnysidePost)

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61 Comments

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CatLover

Can’t wait for the parade! Love the Irish, love the gays…I’ll even love the hipsters that day. It’s a day of community and inclusion…come as you are. Peace Sunnysiders 🙂

Reply
JaneGrissom

The majority of child molesters are not priests! NAMBLA used to participate in the gay pride parade in Manhattan. That should never, ever, have been allowed!

Reply
Oldschool Sunnsider

Yo! John….Since you brought up NAMBLA…How many Priests are card-carrying members? How many rapes and molestations has the Church covered up? I will bet its a lot more than 316.

Reply
John 3:16

Why not let NAMBLA march as well, what about people who are into incest bestiality? They should be able to march under their own banners. Why are they not included in the “for all” parade?

Reply
Pat

Why can’t people just accept that the NYC St Patrick’s Day parade is not about sexual preference but about honoring St Patrick and our ancestors who came here and helped (in a big way) build this country, alongside so many other nationalities.

Why do they need to carry a banner saying what their sexual preference is, who cares .. Keep it in the bedroom ..

And if you really need to celebrate with banners then in October go down in the village where lots of fun is to be had …

Reply
QofARollerhockey

You’re all free to march in the real parade. Just keep your mouth shut about what turns you on in bed just like the rest of us have to. Should I wave a banner that reads I’m into tall, thin female blondes? Or maybe that I have a big butt Latina fetish? No. Why? Because it has NOTHING to do with the great Irish history of this city.

Reply
Rick Duro

SUDS proudly marches for the 12th straight year! Kudos to the organizers for putting on such a great event.

Reply
SuperWittySmitty

Not a stamp of approval but one of tolerance. I do not apporove of some of the tenants of Roman Catholicism, but there’s plenty of room for them in my world.

Reply
Tempus Fugit

The real hate is by those who want to force a religious-based organization to give the stamp of approval to a lifestyle that goes against their religious beliefs.

Reply
ann

please correct typo in previous post.

The St. Patrick’s parade in Dublin has included gay groups for years.

I like that some think DiBlasio controls the weather. Hilarious.

Reply
ann

The St. Patrick’s parade is Dublin has included gay groups for years.

I like that some think DiBlasio controls the weather. Hilarious.

Reply
Tempus Fugit

Tequilla wrote: “Irish people are not racist, homophobic, narrow minded bigots like a few vocal people on this forum.”

No bigots in Ireland? Who were all those people shooting at and blowing each other up all those years over whether they were Protestant or Catholic?

Reply
Sunnyside Native

This is a great parade! Can’t wait! I am proud to be Irish American, proud to be Catholic, proud to be heterosexual and proud to support my friends in the LGBT community! Sorry if my sentiments conflict with YOUR personal beliefs. I don’t look to or care about judgement from any of you. Only God is my judge. God is love and accepts all!

Go SUDS! The dogs are definitely one of the highlights of the parade! Who doesn’t like seeing man’s best friend dressed up in a little green!?! Looking forward to this parade!

Reply
Tequilla Mockingbird

No wonder the president of Ireland refuses to be the grand marshal at the NY St Patrick’s day parade because of the bigoted, racist non-inclusive values perpetrated by some irish americans.

President Higgins is a poet, an intellectual, a liberal who supports gay rights and inclusiveness.

Irish people are not racist, homophobic, narrow minded bigots like a few vocal people on this forum.

Reply
Luvu2

Saw enough of deblasio to judge this parade is an insult to the Irish waiting fir mr Novak to jump in with bigot hate yaddyadda

Reply
Big poppa pump

Let’s get this correct peeps. Bloomberg was the worst mayor in history you got balls whoever you think you are saying the new guy in a month is the worst.

Reply
Casey

Great, the annual freak show is back. Thanks for posting the date. I’ll make sure to be far away from these weirdos and to meet up with some normal people.

Reply
Celtic Bark

@JOR

Because they don’t give a damn about Saint Patrick or the faith he represents. This is the Gay Pride parade with shamrocks, that’s it.

Reply
JOR

Back to the parade, why can’t the organizers use the proper name of the great Saint Patrick, and not the cartoon version?

Reply
Micky

Maybe FAY, DROMM or VAN BRAMER can ask DI BLASIO why he is putting IRISH WORKERS out of business in NY,PITY THE HORSES ARE NOT GAY.

Reply
Celtic Bark

I swear, some people toss the word “hate” around like confetti.

It’s impossible to have a reasonable discussion with people who the second you say something they don’t agree with automatically call you a hater, a bigot, racist, sexist, whatever. It’s like a reflexive, involuntary bodily function for them.

Reply
JaneGrissom

Thank you, Celtic Bark: you knocked that one out of the park. Dare to disagree with famous Mike Novak, and look what happens!

Reply
Sycamore

@JaneG Are you saying that in about six weeks Mayor DiBlasio has caused people to turn into murderers? I can’t make any sense of your reference.

As for the snowstorms, those are his fault, too?

Mr. Novak may be right, only a badly warped mind comes up with a cause and effect relationship between a change of mayors and an increase in murder and snow. Perhaps it is hate that has destroyed your ability to reason. Perhaps it is something else, but something definitely has warped it.

Reply
Celtic Bark

@Mike Novak

Enough with the hate card already. “Hate” now simply means saying something a liberal doesn’t agree with.

Reply
Senior Citizen

Hey people . . calm down . . there is room for everyone on this earth. Lets live and let live. Why aren’t you in DeBlasio’s place? Can you do better?

Reply
sunnysideposthatesme14

Diblasio didn’t send out plows to clean up the streets till the traffic was already dealing with the mess.

he sucks.

Reply
Fernando

Jane is right – there have been too many snowstorms under DeBlasio. Bloomberg’s winters were much more mild. If we can’t trust the mayor to control the weather, what can we trust him with?

Reply
Craic Dealer

“St. Patrick’s Day, a day when everyone can be Irish, except the gays and the Italians” – Kent O’Brockman, The Simpson’s

Reply
Luvu2

A gross parade waiting for Novak to call me a bad name because I don’t agree with his agenda and deblasio is a socialist cop hater

Reply
JaneGrissom

Let’s see: murder rate has increased ALREADY; streets not cleaned and here comes another snowstorm!

Reply
JaneGrissom

From the King of Sunnyside Gardens, Mike Novak! Now he will say, “judge not lest ye be judged”. LOL!

Reply
The Grimster

He’s been in office a little over a month Jane whaty is your basisof fact! oh I know you spend your time watching FAUX NEWS and whatever they say is gospel to you got it.

Reply
Anonymous

@JaneGrissom You seem woefully uninformed. Let’s hear it – make the case for why he’s the worst mayor of all time ever.

Reply

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