By Danny Schrafel
Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day? Time to party!
Huntington Hibernians packed the bar at Finley’s at Green Street for the Division 4 John F. Kennedy Huntington branch’s Halfway to the Parade celebration Sunday, where Fr. Stephen Donnelly, an associate pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Huntington village, was formally introduced as the parade’s grand marshal.
Led in by a procession of the Northport Pipe & Drum Band, Donnelly was warmly received by revelers, who led a “hip-hip, hooray” chant following his formal introduction. Amidst the pints and good cheer, revelers noshed on traditional Irish favorites like corned beef and cabbage, Shepherd’s pie, soda bread and more.
Huntington Hibernians President Andrew Brady said the event’s main role is to drum up excitement and funds for the parade, which the Hibernians stage on their own, as well as the philanthropic endeavors the chapter supports, many of which are anti-hunger efforts.
Pipe and drum bands, not surprisingly, are a major expense, and parade organizers pay to host any bands that are not underwritten by sponsors.
“If they’re not sponsored by a fire district, we have to pick up that expense,” Brady said. “A lot bands are available – so they look to come, and after we fill up with the departments… last year, we had 30 bagpipe bands.”
Other fundraising opportunities for the Hibernians include the annual special section published the week of the parade in The Record and The Long-Islander and annual golf and fishing outings.