The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a beloved annual event held in Huntington every March. Nevertheless, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic made the traditional events of 2021 impossible, and the ancient order of the Hivernians made a painful decision to cancel. In response, the parade organizers have decided to host a virtual parade that will be billed as a direct result of Irish pride and Yankee ingenuity.
Each year, the parade plays a fun day or more role in the town. It’s also an important time for the Knights of the High Verniers, who have hosted the 87-year parade, to raise money to fund numerous scholarship programs and local food distribution stations. — Held annually without government funding. In other words, all programs offered by the organization are funded by donations.
One of the main organizers is actor Really Lee, the composer of PC Richard & Son’s “Whistle”. Parade journal The main way to raise money. Online events are a way to continue the parade tradition and raise money to help people next year who are pessimistic, dark and likely to be financially difficult for many. The online event will feature showcases of organizers and sponsors, as well as Hibernians explaining who they are, bagpipes, history, and fun.
Leer Leary acted as MC and recently he talked about this event Push..
What was your relationship with Huntington and how did you get involved with Huntington Hibernians? There is a long joke among Irish people that you are either Shanti Irish or Lace Curtain Irish … it’s the classic “Posh vs. Commoner” status Stratus. It does not exist in America in the 21st century. But old timers like me like to make fun of others. When asked to join by Regis O’Neil, the first question was, “Oh, did they lower the standard?” It was a great honor, and I finally jumped at the opportunity to be sponsored by the newly elected President John Broderick. Many of us in the United States have a multicultural background, and one side of the whole family can be overlooked. In my family, I was exposed to language, food and customs with a very strong German mother … I even have Lederhosen. Being a Hivernian allowed me to immerse myself in 47% of the DNA telling me what I am, not 43% of the Germans (Thanks, 23 & Me). The Irish story inspires everyone who learns it — challenges, wins, songs, dances, stories, and most importantly, laughter!
What are some of the most important programs your organization organizes each year? We award scholarships to young people going on to college and support five septum programs at various high schools in the town. My personal favorite is a continuous food drive year-round to maintain an assortment of local food pantry. The best feeling in the world is that we can provide the town with over 250 complete Thanksgiving meals: whole turkey, potatoes, vegetables, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread rolls and even pumpkin pie! Some are handed to the family who wrote the letter to the local church. When we hand over food, the front doors of those houses are filled with laughter and tears — classic Irish fun!
How did the pandemic affect community service efforts in 2020? Virtually all kinds of interactions have been eliminated. This applies not only to financing, but also to the community’s ability to contribute to us by setting up donation stations outside the local market. We had to look elsewhere.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a virtual parade for 2021? Two things were happening at the same time when things were closed due to a pandemic. The Dominican sisters and Northwell Health were raising money online instead of the usual year-end dinner. Of course, we were interested in the Grand Marshal company and I was the host of the homecoming farm offering. When we came to the overwhelming decision to cancel the parade, the question in everyone’s mind was “what are we doing now?” With the success of the above two events, we wondered if there was an answer.
Who will appear in this virtual parade and how long will it be held? Of course, I will introduce bagpipes and “who and what we are doing” as Hibernians little by little. Interwoven are raffles, recipes, and fun with a bit of Irish history. The “parade” will march on YouTube for at least Ireland’s History Month (March).
Is this event live, recorded, or a combination of both? All pre-recorded.
You are an actor, how does this affect your MC’s abilities? I never forget that the greatest fear of human beings is speaking in public. I have never felt any tension or butterflies. Yes, I know it’s a blessing. It’s this “Gab Gift” (sometimes called Brunnie) that makes it very easy for me to stand in front of a group and inform and entertain. As long as you have the right fact sheets or scripts and a few rehearsals in place, everything should work.
What is the best thing about planning a parade? Not so long ago, the sight of a herd of Irish people walking down the main street scared the minds of shopkeepers and community leaders! The parade for me is a classic demonstration of “You’ve come a long way!” Few people know that a job advertisement in a New York City newspaper contained the phrase “Irish isn’t necessary.” The Catholic church was burned and the priests were taken to the street and beaten. That’s why the Hibernians, formed in the United States, now direct their friendship, unity, and Christian charity to everyone in the city. The parade gathers everyone. Anyone who is Irish and wants them to be (that’s everyone else!). I think I walked down the street and my dad said, “Wow, they let us in the front door.”
How do you want Huntington Hibernians to expand their programming in the future? I would like to attend school and share a program on immigration during Irish History Month … Dotted it with travel and hardship, and vibrant Irish literature and songs / dance.
Do you think the next live parade — 2022 — will be a particularly big party? Monument! You will be able to see it from space.