A Sunny Day for Revelers at the 29th Annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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By Gabriele Holtermann, Brooklyn Paper

It was the luck of the Irish as the torrential downpours the city experienced on moved out just in time for the 29th annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 17.

The distinctive sound of bagpipes and drums echoed through Bay Ridge as a few thousand revelers, many dressed in shamrock green attire and proudly waving Irish flags, lined 3rd Avenue from Marine Avenue down to 67th Street, cheering on the pageantry of marching bands, Irish dancers, floats, vintage cars, and community groups.

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A young attendee dressed as St. Patrick himself. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
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FDNY Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Flynn was this year’s Grand Marshall. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

With sunshine and clear blue skies abound, the parade kicked off at 1 p.m. sharp, led by this year’s grand marshall, FDNY Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Flynn.

The lifelong Bay Ridge resident was honored and excited to lead the parade, which started back in 1994.

“I’m just tremendously proud,” Flynn told Brooklyn Paper. “I grew up here. I continue to live here and raise my family here. Bay Ridge has been a part of my life the entire time. I’m very proud and honored to be selected.”

Richard O’Mara, president of the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was relieved that the rain had subsided just in time for the spectacle.

“It’s a beautiful day. Thank God the rain got behind us,” O’Mara said. “God smiled on us with the weather. [It’s] a little windy, but we’ll do it.”

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St. Patrick’s Day Parade revelers lined the streets. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
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Marching bands galore performed for parade revelers. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

The parade was a family affair for Kelly Hynes and her 21-year-old daughter, Madison Mahoney.

“I grew up on 83rd Street between 5th and 6th, born and raised here [in Bay Ridge],” Hynes said. “When [Madison] was six months old, I had her out here. She was all decked out in green, and she had her first picture in the paper when she was six months old.”

Mahoney now lives in Delaware but returns for the parade every year to spend time with family and friends and for the bagpipes, which are a rare sight in Delaware, according to Mahoney.

“My mom grew up here. My grandparents grew up here, so I come back to see everybody I used to know and it’s so much fun,” Mahoney said. “It’s so boring in Delaware. They have two bagpipers. Here, we have bagpipers everywhere. I love it.”

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Irish dancers showed off their dancing skills at the grandstand. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
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The FDNY Emerald Society Bagpipe Band marched down the parade route. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Bay Ridge resident Jim Cruickshanks said he comes to the parade almost every year.

“It’s always good to see the parade and have everybody come out. I like to see all the families and community get together,” Cruickshanksa said. “Now we go home and have corned beef and cabbage.”

Lynette Roggenkamp was decked out in an inflatable St. Patrick’s suit. The mother of triplets and twins enjoyed the parade with two of her triplets and her niece.

“I love St. Paddy’s Day. We come to the parade every year,” Roggenkamp said. “Because I have kids now, [the parade] is even more fun. Much more fun than when I was single.”

Lexy May and Lilly Belle Roggenkamp and their cousin Jewel Smith loved the parade because it gave them the opportunity to “hang out” with friends and family and dress up.

“I also like seeing people dress up in green because I like green. I also like people wearing costumes because it’s funny, and I liked all the dancers and music,” Lilly Bell declared.

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran in Brooklyn Paper. Click here to see the original story.

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