FAMILY FUN IN NEW JERSEY: Oh to be Irish for a day….. Well, almost everyone was, when we attended the St Patrick’s Day parade in Morristown, New Jersey.
It’s hardly surprising though. Irish Americans are the second largest ancestral group in the US, and Northeastern USA has the most concentrated numbers of people with Irish descent.
While New Jersey isn’t the most Irish state (that would be Massachusetts), it has one of the biggest concentrations in the US.
Morristown is one of the larger St Patrick’s Day parades held in New Jersey and judging by the numbers of onlookers, an event enjoyed by many. It was certainly a family-friendly event too, with kids dotted throughout the crowd, sitting on shoulders, propped on knees or standing at the front, waving their banners and balloons.
Everywhere you turned, there was green as far as the eye could see.There’s something to be said for any culture, where people, Irish or not, want to dress up in style, participate in festivities and seem to be extra jovial at the same time. Perhaps the Guinness helps.
The locals at the Morristown St Patrick’s parade were no exception. They were raring to enjoy themselves. There was a true spirit of appreciation amongst the onlookers for every group in the parade. The marchers included fireman, policemen, scouts, returned soldiers, sons of Ireland, local dignitaries and organizations, and of course, the very talented marching bands. What an entertaining lot they were, wheeling and dancing while playing their instruments.
I’ve always thought only the Scots wore kilts but there was many a bare leg on display of the kilted variety.
There was such a good vibe at this event. It was almost like a little faery had sprinkled ‘happy’ dust all over the crowd.
This is my first ever St Patrick’s Day parade and it’s not because I dislike the Irish. After all, there’s a bit of Eyre heritage in my own family tree. But I was never motivated enough to make the trip into Sydney city, amongst the noise and jostling, to see it.
There are many parades to celebrate St Patrick’s day
The beaut thing here in New Jersey, is that you don’t have to go into a huge metropolis or fight off drunken revellers to see a great parade. New Jersey may be small but there have been over twenty-five parades scheduled to run this year in individual townships scattered around the state. Luckily, there’s quite a few opportunities to see one of these as they are run over a few weeks in March.
Although most St Patrick’s Day parades will have come and gone by the time this article is posted, there are still some scheduled for this coming weekend in New Jersey.
For those who are interested, here are the links for information on these events:
- Highlands St Patricks Day Parade, Saturday 23rd March starting 2pm
- Keyport St Patrick’s Day Parade, Saturday 23rd March, starting 1pm
- Keansburg St Patrick’s Day Parade, Sunday 24th March, starting 1pm
Why you should go:
- It’s one of the biggest celebrations on the US calendar
- Irish Americans have played a big part in the US, historically, politically, socially and in sheer numbers.
- Attending an event like this helps your children grasp the importance of cultural identity and the influence different cultures can have on modern society
- Not only is it a very colourful event but it’s hugely fun!
- It’s free to attend.
Where you can see a St Patrick’s Parade in NJ (each year):
- Atlantic City, Bayonne, Belmar, Bergen County, Freehold, Hackettstown, Hamilton, Highlands, Jersey City, Keansburg, Keyport, Matawan, Morristown, Mount Holly, Newark, North Wildwood, Nutley, Ringwood, Robbinsville, Seaside Heights, Somerville, South Amboy, Sussex County, Trenton, Union County, West Hudson, West Orange, Woodbridge.
Here are a few photos to help get you in the spirit.
What do you think is the best New Jersey St Patrick’s Day to see?