ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
Division 4 - John F. Kennedy
Huntington, New York
Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity
2017 Parade Grand Marshal: Eugene Cook, Huntington Town Councilman
It was the early 1930's; the nation was in the grips of the Great Depression. Finnegans had just opened the day after Prohibition ended to cater to the growing population of Irish workers. Down the street, Valencia Tavern opened the same day to cater to the Italian laborers. Although times were tough, a great community tradition was started when the entire town came together to celebrate the first St. Patrick's Day Parade held on Long Island.
Eighty years later, thanks to the Huntington Ancient Order of Hibernians, Huntington residents continue to come together to celebrate the unofficial start of spring on the second Sunday of March.
Over the past 83 years, the parade has grown to become the oldest and largest on Long Island. While there are only a few folks around who remember that first St. Patrick's day parade, they will tell you that it is the day Huntington puts her best face forward and everyone has a wee bit of Irish in them. Each year up to 50,000 current and former residents jam Huntington Village for this wonderful family and community event. More important than ever, the Parade is also a tremendous catalyst to the local Huntington economy, with spectators packing the local restaurants, shops, and pubs. With the current rough economic times, "buying local" not only feels good it helps all of us.
The core of the Parade is of course the Bagpipe bands, and no parade on Long Island can match the Huntington's line-up with bands from all over the Island. This year the Parade will include over 25 marching bands. See the complete Line of March in the center section of this years parade journal for a complete list.
Although the Scots lay claim to the bagpipe, the bagpipe existed in Ireland long before Scotland. It was used during religious celebrations, funerals and to assemble villagers and town's people in time of emergencies and in time of war. So, when you hear the sounds of the pipes being played it will touch the hearts of all who listen and remind us of the Irish of centuries ago who fought for freedom in this country and in Ireland.
The Huntington Ancient Order of Hibernians will once again, as is this their custom, march dressed in their distinctive gray morning suit tuxedos. "We take a great deal of pride in putting on the Parade," said AOH Parade Grand Marshal Dominick Feeney, Jr., whose grandfather was a founding father of the current Huntington AOH. "We work hard to make sure the Saint Patrick's Day Parade is a wonderful Huntington community event."
Treasurer, Rich McGrath adds, "many residents mistakenly think the Town sponsors the parade each year, but in truth it's actually the Hibernians who organize, promote, run and raise the money needed to pay for all the expenses associated with putting on this spectacular parade. Each year, the Hibernians go door to door soliciting donations from local businesses for advertisements which appear in this special St. Patrick's Day Parade edition of the Long Islander and Record. It is these generous ad sponsors that enable us to run the parade, so we hope folks support their businesses."