Feb. 26, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The annual St. Pat’s for All parade kicks off in Sunnyside Sunday, marking a near two-decade run for the event.
The parade, in its 19th year, will take place on March 4 and will start on the corner of 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue. The event will feature a multitude of community groups, marching bands, puppets, stilt walkers, elected officials and Irish music and dance.
Brendan Fay, the founder of St. Pat’s for All, said that around 90 groups have already signed up for the march, including LGBT groups like Pride for Youth and the Lavender and Green Alliance; the FDNY bagpipe band; the Niall O’Leary School of Irish; and the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association—all longtime marchers in the parade.
“This celebration on Skillman Avenue is so unique to the cultural life of this city,” Fay said.
This year’s parade will highlight immigration, similar to last year’s theme, especially as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) approaches the March 5 expiration deadline set by President Trump last year.
“This is an issue for all of us,” Fay said. “Especially in the borough of Queens.”
The parade’s Grand Marshals this year are Dan Barry of the New York Times and Kathleen Sullivan, a nuclear-disarmament activist.
Fay said that he gets emotional thinking about how much parade has grown since its inception in 2000, and what drove him to create the march in the first place.
“It is moving for me when I consider that this parade began out of the experience of exclusion for Irish LGBT,” he said. “I never underestimate the feeling of what it means to be welcome and included.”
St. Pat’s for All began as a mostly gay-pride parade after a group of Irish men and women were barred from marching through the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue with a gay banner.
“The St. Pat’s for All parade in Sunnyside and Woodside changed lives and changed history, and it has become this model of inclusive cultural celebrations,” Fay said. “It’s not only welcoming to LGBT groups—it’s one of the diverse inclusive cultural gatherings in New York City.”
The event will begin at 1 p.m. with a lineup of speakers, with the march beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 58th Street and Woodside Avenue.
Interested groups can still register for the parade at the St. Pat’s for All website.