I’m not Irish, but kiss me anyway!

Kevin Birdsall dons a festive hat and finds a good spot to watch the parade.

Down the shore, Belmar and Lake Como host a St. Patrick’s Day Parade every year.  The 37th annual parade was held on March 7th, a sunny, crisp Sunday.  Never having attended a St. Patrick’s Day Parade before, I wasn’t sure what to expect other than that there might be a lot of green and some shamrocks.  (Naive, I know…)

I was very fortunate to attend with parade veterans who knew the ropes, including the all-important tip that it is best not

Brooke O'Scanlon and John Conde take a moment to enjoy some green pizza.

to drive to Belmar by car for the parade, but to instead take the train (which dropped us off just blocks from where we wanted to be).  From the train ride to the moment that we started to walk around the streets of Belmar, I was blissfully surrounded by a sea of every shade of green imaginable.  Folks of all ages were celebrating in style and partaking in rare goodies such as green pizza, green beer, and green cotton candy – a little something for everyone!

Irish pride abounded the crowded streets, restaurants, and bars.  And so did Jersey pride.  This Jersey Girl was delighted to see so many “Jersey Girl” t-shirts and New Jersey related memorabilia and even stumbled upon a new favorite shop which sells all New Jersey related merchandise called True Jersey Supply Company (more about this store in a future post) where I purchased a few adorable t-shirts.

While awaiting the parade to commence, I also discovered the Jersey Shore Podcast as the hosts entertained listeners and

Me (on the right) with the fun folks from the the Jersey Shore Podcast.

parade watchers alike.  Pipe and drum bands, representing areas of the state including Somerset County and Hudson County, marched and played in the parade, filling the streets and our hearts with lively, uplifting music.  Also a big part of the parade was the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and all along the parade route there were drop off stations for people to make donations to the food bank.  It was an important reminder that though those of us at the parade were celebrating, there are people who don’t have as much to celebrate and we all need to do our part to help out.

Once the parade ended, I followed the party (with many, many others) as it continued on to a few of the local bars and restaurants.  Pipe and drum bands also made their way with us continuing their popular performances, and live bands delighted us all with traditional Irish songs as well.  We danced, ate hot, corned beef sandwiches, and continued to have a great time.

One of over a dozen pipe and drum bands to march in the parade.

Eventually, when the sun began to set, it was time for me to call it a day.  As I did, I could happily report that while as I had predicted, there was a lot of green and plenty of shamrocks at the parade, there was also a whole lot more.  I highly recommend making the trip to Belmar next year (remember to take the train) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in fun, energetic Jersey Shore style.

The Jersey Girl  🙂

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3 thoughts on “I’m not Irish, but kiss me anyway!

  1. Thanks for sharing your Jersey insights, Melissa. I’m transplanted into the state and though it’s been 5 years now, I still feel like I don’t know it well. You may just help me broaden my horizons a little more. -Lisa

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