St. Patrick’s Day parades will return to Bay Ridge, Park Slope

St. Patrick's Day
Bagpipers march in the Park Slope St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
File photo by Elizabeth Graham

Brooklyn’s Irish population will dawn their finest kilts and fire-up their fiddles to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a pair of parades in the borough next month — marking a long-awaited return to the beloved holiday tradition, which was canceled the past two years due to COVID-19.  

Bay Ridge

In Bay Ridge, southern Brooklynites will gather on March 27 for the 27th annual rendition of the parade, which the organizers promise will be the most spectacular celebration yet.

“Back and BETTER than EVER!” the group wrote on social media. “See you on Third Avenue!”

The festivities will begin with a 9:30 am church service at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, located at 9511 Fourth Ave., before revelers will head over to the corner of Third and Marine avenues for the 1 pm parade. 

After two years of health-related cancellations, attendance will likely (COVID-allowing) be among the highest of any previous Bay Ridge parade, which was initially the “brainchild” of Gene Reilly, who had owned Lief Erickson Pub on Fifth Avenue, according to the organizers. 

Wave the flag: Lily and Layla O’Brien showed their Irish pride at Bay Ridge’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 25, 2018.File photo by Jordan Rathkopf

“He wanted to share the Celtic culture and love of Irish Heritage. He believed there was a need and desire for this,” the organization wrote on their website. “Gene had realized the parade would also help stimulate business and interest in the Bay Ridge community.”

That prescient idea has proven true each year since 1993, as Irish dancers, marching bands, and hundreds of proud Irish descendants Sham-rock-and-roll through the neighborhood with tons of fanfare — and frequent the neighborhood’s many businesses, which will come as a particular relief this year as eateries have struggled amid the pandemic. 

The Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade (at the corner of Third and Marine avenues in Bay Ridge). March 27. 1 pm. Free. For more information and a list of this year’s parade honorees, visit www.brparade.com.

St. Patrick's Day
Children look on a past Park Slope St. Patrick’s Day Parade.File photo by Elizabeth Graham

Park Slope 

On March 20, Northern Brooklynites will also see the return of their beloved St. Patrick’s Day parade, which has become one of the premier-jamborees in the area each year! 

The 45th annual Park Slope event will kick off with a mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Church at 245 Prospect Park West, beginning at 10:30 am. Revelers will then head to Bartel-Pritchard Square on the southwestern tip of Prospect Park, where the parade will begin at 12:30 pm. 

Like years past, the Park Slope event will feature several bands and dance troupes, along with activities for kids — like face painting and arts-and-crafts. Organizers also promise to show off old memorabilia reminiscent of the Motherland, such as antique cars from Ireland. 

The newest installment of the parade comes 47 years after Irish immigrant John Carroll, a longtime community advocate, helped found the parade to bring attention to various problems plaguing the Irish community in 1975. Carroll’s grandson, Robert Carroll, now represents Park Slope in the state Assembly. 

The Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Bartel-Pritchard Square in Park Slope). March 20. 12:30 pm. Free. 

Marching against COVID

The announcement of the return of the dual parades comes as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is beginning to subside throughout the Five Boroughs. 

Citywide, health officials have recorded a daily average of 1,108 cases over the seven-day period ending on Feb. 11, when the most recent data is available. That is significantly lower than the 43,635 cases per-day at the beginning of this year (though the results of at-home tests are harder to track, potentially skewing the numbers). 

Citywide, 85.1 percent of all New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 75.9 percent are fully immunized, according to city data.