Jamesport will host a St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, if Riverhead Town approves a parade permit application filed today by the East End Emerald Society, a newly formed group organized by Jamesport businessman Sean O’NeiLL.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the last 10 years,” O’NeiLL said in a phone interview tonight.
The parade is being planned for Saturday, March 22, beginning at 1 p.m. with a route stretching from Washington Avenue to the George Young Community Center, O’NeiLL said.
Under Riverhead Town code, the parade permit application must be approved by the Police Chief David Hegermiller. The chief could not be reached for comment this evening.
“Riverhead’s never had a St. Paddy’s Day parade and we think it’s time,” O’NeiLL said. He realizes it’s short notice, but he and his fellow organizers are calling local-area fire departments, businesses and community groups to ask them to march. They are also working on getting a pipe band and step-dancers to participate.
The Jamesport Fire Department will participate, Jamesport Fire Department Chief Sean McCabe said tonight.
“There’s nothing like a St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” McCabe said.
“It may be the shortest St. Patrick’s parade in the state of New York — who knows? But you have to start somewhere,” O’NeiLL said with a laugh.
His fiancee, Donya O’Brien, owner of Monk Metal Jewels in Greenport, is donating $50 prizes for the best dressed “Miss Emerald” and “Little Leprechaun” to march in the parade.
“We want to make this a really nice, family-friendly community event,” O’Brien said.
O’NeiLL is collaborating on the parade with three old friends: John Cuddy, Walter Magee and Brandon Hewes.
Why a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jamesport?
“I feel good about it,” O’NeiLL said. “I’m 100 percent Irish. John, Walter and Brandon are, too,” he said.
It’s a matter of Irish pride, said O’NeiLL, who traces his lineage back to the first king of Ireland.
“We’ve been going to St. Patrick’s Day parades in Rocky Point and Montauk and other places. It’s just time to have one at home,” O’NeiLL said.
Councilman James Wooten helped them with the paperwork today, he said.
O’Neill and his friends will chip in to cover the cost of the required $2 million liability insurance policy.
Wooten, also of Irish descent, said tonight he likes the idea. “I’m really surprised that Riverhead, with its Irish heritage from way back when, has never had a St. Paddy’s Day parade,” he said.
If you’re interested in participating or have ideas for the parade, email [email protected]