By Jano Tantongco
Despite the freezing temperatures with a ‘high’ of 31 degrees, hundreds came to march, drink and be merry at Huntington’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday.
Nag’s Head on New York Avenue in the village was one of many bars as lively as ever, full of a green festive spirit that could only be found during the town’s celebration of the Irish saint.
“St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Huntington is always like the first unofficial day of spring,” said Evan Antonucci, of Huntington, who braved the cold in the bar’s back area with some friends.
Turning outside, marchers of all kinds, ranging from members of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, which hosts the parade each year, to the town’s proud fire departments and high school marching bands. The parade began at the Huntington Long Island Railroad Station, funnelled down New York Avenue and later turned onto its endpoint on Main Street.
Martin Lynch, formerly of Huntington, was in town for the weekend with wife Lea. The couple visited from their Pennsylvania home. Lynch said the last time he attended was about 15 years ago.
“The fact that it’s so easy to get a spot is nice. We’re enjoying it, we like the costumes, the music,” he said.
Bill Callahan, of Huntington, said this was the first time he’s attended the parade in many years.
“It’s just like I remember it, only there were a lot of people 10 years ago,” he said.
Local elected officials, including town councilmembers Tracey Edwards and Mark Cuthbertson, attended the parade while their colleague Councilman Eugene Cook served as the parade’s grand marshall. Also in attendance were Suffolk Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport), state Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-East Northport), Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone and Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Huntington).
This was Suozzi’s first official parade as congressman; he said it was an “awesome time.”
“I can’t believe all these people came out in the freezing cold weather,” Suozzi said. “These are real die hards that came out here today, and I hope everybody had a good time.”