You know it’s spring when . . . The Bagpipes come to Montauk!
This year, the 57th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Montauk is hosted by the Montauk Friends of Erin and will, as usual, be held on the Sunday after the actual holiday – on Sunday March 24th at 12:00pm.
If the parade were held on St. Patrick’s Day, it would be quite subdued as most of the yearly participants are otherwise engaged marching in other parades. And everyone knows Montauk’s Parade is anything but boring. It is the second largest Saint Patty’s Day Parade in New York State (NYC takes first prize) with over 30,000 spectators and supporters attending this annual event. And you never know what might happen. Several years ago a comely young lass in a hot tub float flashed her bare breasts to the judges – an offense punishable by 15 days in jail, a fine, or both – but we think she got off with a slap on the proverbial wrist!
The Montauk Friends of Erin was founded in 1962 as a Civic and Social Organization. Their main purpose is to organize and raise funds for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade – to bring the dreary winter to an end and welcome spring with a joyous and Festive Irish celebration. In addition, their fundraising efforts provide scholarships for worthy students and sponsor Little League activities for boys and girls in Montauk. The original 12 members would be very happy to see how their idea has prospered over the last 57 years.
This year 32 floats, 15 marching bands, 14 fire departments, and six color guards are expected to participate. Starting at 12:00 pm Sunday, the parade will step off at the Montauk Firehouse, head south on Edgemere Road, then turn east and pass the Montauk Post Office before beginning its westward descent down Main Street. It concludes at the Montauk I.G.A. about two hours after it starts.
On Sunday the excitement starts to build early in the day. Main Street will be roped off and spectators will start lining up early to get a good spot. A viewing stand for visiting dignitaries will be set up on the green. Meanwhile, across the street, in front of the Chamber of Commerce building, steaming hot vats of clam chowder donated by local restaurants will be served by Chamber members (in your very own St. Patrick’s Day Parade souvenir mug) who will pick up their ladles at 10:00 am and put them down only when the soup is sold out. Nearby, outside Suffolk County National Bank, the Montauk School’s Parent Teacher Association will have a bake sale from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
A caravan of cars can always be seen heading into town before the parade begins. Local restaurants and motels do a brisk business throughout the weekend, and many are reopening with that in mind. East Hampton Town police officers will work overtime enforcing the law, particularly the one prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in public places. In recent years the LIRR trains have been heavily policed to prevent drunken bad behavior from starting even before the parade!
So bring your camera and let’s hope the sun will shine! Unless it rains or snows, the Clam Bar will open for the season — a perfect lunch stop on your way back to East Hampton! The first Lobster Roll of the year?
So come join us for this joyous day – and raise a toast with us to the end of winter!