Feb. 28, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The annual Sunnyside/Woodside St. Pat’s For All parade will take place on Sunday, March 5, with dozens of groups already signed up to march.
The parade is Sunnyside’s largest event each year, and several Irish cultural groups, LGBT organizations, music groups and a multitude of marching bands are expected to take to Skillman Avenue and be cheered on by adults and children decked out in emerald, green.
St. Pat’s For All celebrates Ireland, inclusivity and diversity, organizers say. Last year more than two thousand people took to the streets of Woodside and Sunnyside to celebrate the gathering.
The parade, now in its 23rd year, will follow its traditional route Sunday beginning at Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street before finishing at 58th Street and Woodside Avenue.
Music and speeches will begin at noon with the parade kicking off at 1 p.m.
The parade was initially organized as an LGBT-inspired event after a group of Irish men and women were not permitted to march in the 1999 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Ave under a gay banner.
The Sunnyside event has since evolved to be considered more of a community-driven celebration with a large cross-section of the neighborhood participating.
A number of high-profile politicians have spoken at the event in recent years including former Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer, as well as Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney.
Last year the event was heavily represented by the City Council with representatives from Queens — including Julie Won and Tiffany Cabán — the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan present. State lawmakers such as state Senator Michael Gianaris were also in attendance, as was New York Attorney General Letitia James and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, the Co-chair of St. Pat’s For All said that the parade will again be a celebration of diversity and togetherness.
“Our motto of ‘cherishing all the children equally’ will be represented by the smiles and joy of so many children and families along the route,” Walsh D’Arcy said.
“In the words of community activist Jim Burke: ‘we’re straight, we’re gay, we’re Muslim, we’re Catholic, we’re atheist and we’re all Irish today and celebrating together.’” Burke is a well-known local LGBT activist and open streets advocate.
The grand marshals of this year’s parade will be Paul Muldoon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from Northern Ireland and former radio/television producer with the BBC in Belfast, and Cáit O’Riordan, a musician who is known for being a member of the London-Irish punk band The Pogues in the 1980s and for playing with various bands and performers throughout her career.
The parade will be led by the FDNY bagpipe band and will feature several other marching bands including the County Cork Pipes and Drums as well as regulars such as the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, Girl Scouts of Sunnyside Woodside and the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Football Club.
Fogo Azul, a 50-member, New York City-based all-women Brazilian Samba Reggae drum line band are also expected to return.
Walsh D’Arcy said that the Lavender and Green Alliance, an Irish LGBT group established by St. Pats For All founder Brendan Fay, will also take part. In 2016, it became the first group to march under a gay banner at the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue.
Fay, a community activist, founded the parade in 2000 after being arrested several times while trying to march with a gay rights group at the Fifth Avenue parade in the 1990s. He then worked with activists to establish the Sunnyside/Woodside event.
Fay, an Irish immigrant, stepped down from his role as co-chair of the event in 2021.
He told the Queens Post/Sunnyside Post previously that the event has played a big role in the movement toward LGBT and immigrant equality.
St. Pat’s For All, he said, was the first parade in New York to allow LGBT groups to march behind their organization’s own banner. Today, nearly all St. Patrick’s Day parades in the state welcome LGBT groups, and in 2016, Fay’s Lavender and Green Alliance marched in the Fifth Avenue parade for the first time.
“The communities of Sunnyside and Woodside said, ‘everybody belongs… everybody is part of this,’” Fay said after the 2020 parade.
“And this parade, this Irish celebration of inclusion and welcome, is so genuine and so real [that] people travel from… outside the city just to come to this St. Patrick’s celebration.”
Registration for the parade is free, and individuals and groups who would like to join can do so by clicking here. Registration will remain open through March 5, organizers said.
His absence since being elected has not gone unnoticed. Is it because the inclusive nature of this parade does not line up with his deeply held personal views? Let the wee man answer himself, if he has the courage.
The Fake St. Patricks Day Parade…Go to the one in Savannah, GA. That honors what Saint Patricks day is really about. Not this leftist pandering march.
The brainwashing and lying continues. What other ethnicity or nationality has a “for all” parade or event? None. Stop the nonsense. No group is allowed to march in the NYC St. Patricks Day parade on March 17th under a banner unless it’s for a county in Ireland, a religious organization or a trade/union organization like the civil service Emerald Society’s. It’s a parade in honor of a Catholic saint. This parade is a religious event. The gays were allowed to participate and march in the main parade, in fact anyone can. That’s open to the public. The gay group just couldn’t carry a banner, like other groups who applied and were told the same thing. They have been lying about it since day one to paint themselves as victims. The people who started this Sunnyside parade are dishonest and are pushing a political agenda.
They don’t want the public to know the truth. They are pulling the same lies for the Staten Island St Patrick’s Day parade. They have misrepresented Irish American’s who give of their own time to host the parades. It’s a lot of work. Through out March there are 10 NYC parades to honor St. Patrick.
I am very concerned when I see children being given rainbow wigs and flags during this “for all” parade”. It is certainly grooming. Hands off the children, they are innocent. The political agenda these parade organizers are pushing is the same one that Irish Immigrants arriving in the 1800’s to NYC faced. They were called dirty micks ,caricaturized as less than human. Now they are demonizing Irish Americans as racist if one doesn’t jump on their band wagon. If they demonize other white people they are so much better than a plain old Irish Americans. Maybe the parade should be in honor of the organizers, call it The Lying Deluded Bunch Stroll down Skillman Avenue. Shall I give them credit for the recent rash of strong armed robberies in Sunnyside, too?
Thank you Molly!!..So very well said.
man people who think like you are just a miserable lot. walk around all day with nothing better to do than get angry and complain to a local newspaper about a friggin’ parade for families.
its an event for all people who want to have fun and celebrate, two adjectives that clearly don’t apply to you. you wont be missed.
also, the dumbfounding hypocrisy of you saying that st patricks day parades should be maintained as religious events hosted by the catholic church whilst simultaneously saying rainbow flags and wigs “is certainly grooming” and clutching at your pearls over the innocence of children makes my jaw drop.
hands off the children!? why dont you tell that to the catholic church, an institution that has been responsible for systematically covering up pedophilia by its clergy since the middle ages up to the modern day. pretty sure the “child sex criminal” record of gay pride orgs. is quite clean by comparison.
A big ugh
Will skip it
Had nothing to do with a saint