Preparations are underway for the inaugural McLean Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade which will take place on Saturday, March 24 in Yonkers.
“It’s getting bigger by the day,” said parade chairperson Deirdre O’Mara, who is originally from Dublin.
“The idea has been around for a long time,” O’Mara, who runs an Irish dance school on Devoe Avenue, told the Irish Voice.
“We are hearing from a lot of people who grew up here that are going to come back for the parade. We want this to be the first of many.”
The Police Emerald Society of Westchester band will lead the parade, with former city Judge Arthur Doran, Jr. appointed as the grand marshal.
“We have 11 pipes and drum bands and at least 45 other groups marching,” said O’Mara.
Organizers decided to hold the parade the week following St. Patrick’s Day so it doesn’t conflict with other events.
“It’s not a bad thing to extend Paddy’s for another week,” O’Mara pointed out.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m. at Bronx River Road and will follow a westerly route up McLean Avenue, ending at Coyne Park.
The event has been spearheaded by the McLean Avenue Merchants Association, a recently formed committee.
“They are all business owners and great at making things happen,” said O’Mara.
The event requires a $25,000 police detail. A fundraising dinner dance will take place on March 10 at Rory Dolan’s. at 890 McLean Avenue.
There will also be a fundraising breakfast the morning of the parade at St. Barnabas cafeteria. In addition, organizers will be selling $20 raffle tickets to help cover the costs.
“It will be great to see the kids marching through their own community,” said O’Mara.
“We want the community, businesses and everyone to benefit.”
McLean Avenue in Yonkers is one of the most Irish American streets in the country, dotted with several Irish shops and restaurants. It has been a magnet for new arrivals from Ireland for decades.