The Christmas lights are in the bin but the Irish shine on in Jersey - Music and events of St. Patrick's Day celebrations begin to raise their heads

Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal  Jim Tansey (left) plays the pipes
Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal 
Jim
 Tansey (left) plays the pipes
The Christmas season is truly done with all the decorations stored away and with Honey Badger removing my strings of colored lights outside the house with wire cutters.

Thankfully there are many happenings before I have to debate buying new lights next December and hiding the tools away from her.

We didn’t quite make it to the Ancient Order of Hibernians Polar Bear Plunge in Sea Bright two Sundays past. Bad timing and heavy traffic on Route 36 South had much to do with that.

We did learn that AOH Monmouth County Division 2 who hosted the mad dash in to the near-freezing waves raised about $130,000 for Catholic schools in the state. Well done.

After visiting more of the Sandy Storm-damaged shore (it doesn’t seem to end), Honey Badger and I did make it to the after-party at the AOH headquarters in North Middletown.

The man from Clare, Kevin Guerin himself, and the lads from Round the House were keeping the blood flowing with lively music as those souls who braved the cold surf enjoyed a hot buffet.

Ed Cunning of the famed Hoboken Cunning Clan was there introducing us around the place. It was a brilliant time seeing old faces and meeting new ones.

Some news of new found friends will reach this space soon and the day gave us a taste of things to come in the near future in these parts.

This last Sunday was the annual Celebrity Bartenders party at the Kenilworth Veterans Center to benefit the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The criac was mighty as always.

Celtic rockers Bloody Callan shook the hall while many an honorable volunteer served up mugs of suds to the hundreds gathered.

It was a bit of a spring awakening after months of hibernation. Faces not seen since last St. Patrick’s Season were about the place aplenty.

It was also the first public event for this year’s Union County Grand Marshal, Jim Tansey.

A brilliant choice for the honor, Jimmy looked sharp in his suit among the kilts playing the pipes with the mass band from made up of St. Columcille, Union County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, and the Essex Emeralds Pipes and Drums. Honey Badger played strong with them as well.

As Ronnie down the Vets says, “A good time was had by all.”

And there are more good times on the set list around the Garden State before the parades begin.
On Friday evening, January 25, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Union County will host a dinner-dance marking their 50th anniversary at L’Affaire on Route 22 in Mountainside. If you are interested in attending, call Todd Mooney at 908-966-1380, Ed Sisk at 908-451-6731 or Frank McGovern at 908-803-3180, or visit friendlysonsofstpatrick.org.

The Union Irish American Society will be honoring Nugent Association members Kathy Noonan-Rotando and Tony Brennan at their annual dance. Bloody Callan is playing that gig too. It is at the Knights of Columbus in Union and Saturday, February 2 at 8 p.m. For more information call 908-377-8352. Of course, pipers will be playing there.

The Ocean County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is hosting an Irish Wake on Sunday, February 17 at Hemingway's Cafe on the Boulevard in Seaside Heights from 3-8p.m.

The Sandy Storm battered town is bravely coming back and deserves all our support.

Another town hard hit by Sandy is going forth with their parade as well. The Highlands Business Partnership will host their annual parade fundraiser on Sunday, January 27. For more information call 732-291-4713 or email HBP@highlandsnj.com.

The parade I am most excited about and looking forward to is the Rumson St. Patrick’s celebration. The march is their first ever. That’s what makes it so inviting.

The Rumson parade committee is hosting a bunch of fundraiser. All the information is at rumsonstpatricksdayparade.org.

Rumors are flying about Bruce Springsteen attending the parade. His is part Irish and it is where he lives.
Whether Bruce shows or not hardly matters. St Patrick is “The Boss” for the next two months across the Garden State.

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