The Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is proud to announce Ryan Dawson as the Grand Marshal for the 2023 Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Dawson, a member and former President of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Morris County, has been an integral member of the parade committee and the finance committee assisting in raising money for the parade as Finance Committee Chairman.

He is a realtor for Weichert Realtors in Morristown and resides in Mendham with his wife Melinda, a native of Co Cork.

The 2023 Morris County St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off at 12 pm sharp on Saturday, March 11 in Morristown, New Jersey.

The Morris County St. Patrick's Day Parade has been held since 1979 and is the largest in New Jersey with over 20 bands and over 4,000 marchers.  

Please join us in congratulating Ryan Dawson as our Grand Marshal for 2023!

Great night at The Guard's Welcome. Congratulations to the 2023 Morris County St. Patrick's Day Parade Parade Starter Kevin Scollans and Grand Marshal Ryan Dawson. Our Parade day 1 month from yesterday!

Posted by Morris County's St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, February 12, 2023

Brief History of the Morris County St. Patrick's Day Parade

March 17, 1780: After the long hard winter of 1779-1780 in Jockey Hollow, Morristown, New Jersey, George Washington, in recognition of the support of his Irish militiamen, and there were plenty of them, gave them the day off and thus began the first St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in the United States. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade then was in Morris County occurred in 1780.

March 17, 1979: Thanks to the Irish American Association of Northwest Jersey (IAANJ), the first official modern-day Morris County St. Patrick’s in Morris County was held in Wharton, NJ. Parade marchers paraded down a one-mile stretch of Main Street, Wharton, to the cheers of hundreds of spectators.

In 1981, while on a trip to Ireland, the president of IAANJ commissioned the nuns of the Carmelite Monastery, Tallow, Co Waterford, Ireland to produce a hand-painted banner of St. Patrick and this exquisite work of art has led all Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parades since then.

From 1979 through 1990, the parade became larger and larger as it grew in popularity. More and more groups joined the parade and more and more spectators came out to enjoy it. By 1983, there were 48 units in the parade.
By 1988, there were 56 units in the parade with over 1500 marchers and over 4000 spectators.

In 1990, the parade in Wharton had its largest parade with the greatest number of spectators ever marching down Main Street. It was clear that the parade had outgrown Wharton, a small and gracious community that hosted the Parade.

In November 1990, IAANJ teamed up with the Friendly Sons of St Patrick (FSSP) of Morris County and began working with the Morristown administration to bring the parade to Morristown. It was a perfect place for the parade. It is the county seat, has a terrific and safe environment for a fun-filled family day for all residents of Morris County to enjoy, has adequate parking for parade participants and spectators, plus, Morristown has a rich history in Irish culture going back to the Revolutionary War.

January 18, 1991: A Certificate of Incorporation for Non-Profit Organization, was issued for St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Morris County, Inc., and a Board of Trustees was formed for the new non-profit organization. It was formed to run the parade, to pay parade expenses, and most importantly, to provide charitable contributions to promote Irish culture and support various local children’s and other organizations that benefit Morris County.

March 16, 1991: The annual Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parade stepped off in Morristown for the first time with 3000 marchers, 13 bands, and several floats and fire companies. There were thousands of spectators there to enjoy the day. It was a great day for everyone and has been ever since.

From 1991 though 2014, the parade has grown to over 120 diverse groups, including over 20 bands, with over 4000 marchers with 50,000 to 80,000 spectators enjoying the Parade each year depending on weather.

In 2000, the Morris County Parade history was submitted by Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen to the Library of Congress and was featured in the Library of Congress Local Legacy Program, a high honor and tribute to the efforts of parade organizers and volunteers. Our parade got national recognition. Today, it takes over 75 volunteers puttiing in in excess of 2500 hours each year to put on the Parade.

In 2006, to accommodate the parade’s growth in size and popularity, the Parade route was extended three blocks by going around the Green instead of just passing through it.

Since 1991, the Parade has voluntarily donated over $250,000 to the Town of Morristown as part of the Parade’s good neighbor policy to keep the parade from costing taxpayers anything.

Since 1991, the Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc. has donated almost $350,000 to local charitable organizations in keeping with the mission of our Non-Profit organization.

Since 1991, Parade Day has begun with Mass at Assumption Church at 10:00 am. The Mass is a special celebration of Irish Culture in honor of St. Patrick.

In 2012, the Parade added Pre-Parade events to entertain spectators around the Green while waiting for the Parade to start.

The parade is fully self-funded and receives no public funds for parade expenses. It is funded solely by generous donations from corporate and individual sponsors. There is no public money involved so there is no cost to tax payers.

The Parade has a very strictly enforced non-alcohol policy for parade participants.

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