Kelly Corcoran, left, and Katie Baldwin from Daly Irish Dance demonstrate Irish step dancing during an event to discuss plans for the March 9 Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
By John Burton
RUMSON – It’s now a little less than two months until the Rumson second annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and plans are moving full speed ahead for a bigger – and better – event.
Last year’s inaugural event was a resounding success, attracting thousands of spectators and hundreds of participants and marchers, who made their way along River Road in the borough.
This year’s event, slated for Sunday, March 9, faces one obstacle: To “make it better than last year is the biggest challenge,” Michael Larkin, the parade organizer and one of its founders, said during a recent event at Murphy’s Tavern, 17 Ward Lane.
There will be more groups participating in the line of march this year, Larkin said. “The goal is not to grow,” but keep the parade “an intimate” event, said Mike Maguire, who owns and operates Molly Maguire’s Black Point Inn at 132 E. River Road. Also an organizer and founder, Maguire said the committee wants to continue the “family friendly” nature of the parade, instead of growing to the point where it becomes unwieldy and difficult to control.
Last year’s parade had about 800 participants, including marching bands, floats, classic cars and Irish step dancers with estimates of more than 4,000 spectators, according to information provided by the organizers.
The 2014 parade will include those features that have proven to be popular with those who come out and celebrate the wearin’ of the green. The parade’s grand marshal will be Pete Dawkins, a Heisman Trophy winner, a former Army brigadier general and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who went on to a successful career in finance and on Wall Street.
JoAnn Pileggi, from Fox 5 New York Television, will again serve as master of ceremonies and will feature tributes to the armed forces, requested by Dawkins, Larkin said.
Last year’s grand marshal was Tim McLoone.
Last year’s parade cost about $25,000 to produce, Larkin said, with the bulk of the money used for talent, including bagpipers, drum corps and others who took part. When the idea was presented to the borough’s governing body, the borough council supported it but told organizers “we want you to be entirely self-sufficient,” Larkin recalled. That meant fundraising to cover costs, including insurance.
Fundraising was successful. It covered costs and allowed organizers to make donations to local charities. The parade committee also put some money aside for this year’s event, which is good, because Larkin predicts this year’s parade will cost about 10 percent more.
Fundraising is under way and will continue, much like last year by seeking sponsors, a planned golf outing and the selling of green tree lights to area homeowners to be strung along the parade route prior to the event. A tree-lighting ceremony is planned for the week before the event, according to Larkin.
While Mayor John Ekdahl said, “a first-time event is difficult” to get off the ground, “the outcome far exceeded what anyone expected …virtually nothing” went wrong.
The parade will make its way from Victory Park and travel along River Road to Piping Rock Park, in the vicinity of Val’s Tavern.
Ekdahl said there are plans to again run a shuttle to and from both ends of the parade during most of the day to help offset traffic and parking concerns.
Other developments will be posted on the organizers’ website, rumsonstpatricksdayparade.org, as they become available, Larkin said.
***ITALThe Two River Times***END is the media sponsor of the 2014 Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade.