St Patrick's Parade and Celebration
From Central Park Historical Society Encyclopedia
The history of the parade is a celebration of the pride in the heritage the Irish people took with them when they came to settle in America from Ireland. The first St. Patrick's Parade in Bethpage took place in 1992. This parade and celebration has special significance to the people of Bethpage as friend and neighbor, Cornelius (Connie) Doolan, was chosen to lead the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade up 5th Avenue in New York City as the Grand Marshall. This pride spilled over in the Bethpage Community when prominent members of our community, Jim Leddy and John Coumatas, of the Central Park Inn (presently known as B. K. Sweeney's), discussed the possibility to bring the same pride demonstrated on 5th Avenue, New York City to Broadway, Bethpage. The idea took form and grew. Anne, wife of Connie, suggested that the parade should take place after a mass at St. Martin of Tours Church on Central Avenue. The same way it starts off after a mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
Now that the parade and celebration was agreed upon, a committee was formed to ensure the success of the events. The people responsible were: Jim Leddy, Syl Nugent, Bill McConnell, Michael Horan, John O'Hara, Kathy Brenton, and John Coumatas. Now, proudly on March 1, 1992, after the 12:30 Mass, celebrated by Rev. George Keaveney, the first St. Patrick's Parade stepped off and marched down Central Avenue to Burkhard Street on to Broadway proudly passed the reviewing stand.
The subsequent years many prominent residents lent their expertise and time to the continuation of this event. They are: Jack and Mary McCaffrey, Eileen Horan, Maureen Minnet, Patricia Asterita, Kevin Connors, Francis Looney, Bill McCabe, Mary Ann McGrath, Maureen O'Brien, John Joyce and many others. Without their dedication there would be no parade.
Since the first St. Patrick Parade, led by our first Grand Marshal, Cornelius (Connie) Doolan, in 1992, Bethpage has continued the tradition with the following distinguished Grand Marshals: 1993- Rev. George Keaveney, 1994 - Jack McCaffrey, 1995 - Rev. John Murray, 1996 - William Quigley, 1997 - Syl Nugent, 1998 - John O'Hara, 1999 - Francis B. Looney, 2000 - John Sullivan, 2001 - Mary McCaffrey, 2002 - Bill McCabe, 2003 - Mike Horan, 2004 - Frank DeBobes, 2005 - Gary Bretton, 2006 - John Joyce, 2007 - John Coumatas and Kevin McCabe. They all led with great pride reflecting the strong tradition of the values that have been handed down and entrusted to them.
Information provided by Connie Doolan, March 2007
Below information from The BETHPAGE TRIBUNE, February 8-14, 2008
17th Annual Bethpage St. Patrick's Parade will take place on Sunday, March 2, 2008. The St. Patrick's Parade Committee announced the selection of this years Grand Marshals: Cornelius (Connie) Doolan and 4 year old Matthew McGrorty. Matthew has been diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma (a form of liver cancer) and he will lead the marches, with Connie, in a special vehicle a resident of Bethpage offered for this occasion.
The festivities begin at the 1:00 PM Mass at St. Martin of Tours Church. The parade begins at 2:00 PM and will wind its way down Central Avenue to Stewart Avenue, up Burkhardt, ending at the Showmobile which will be on Broadway near Century 21. The reception follows immediately in the cafeteria and auditorium of St. Martin's school.
Below information from The Bethpage Tribune December 25 - January 8, 2009
John Eastwood is selected as 2009 Grand Marshal of St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Below information from the Bethpage Tribune February 13 - 19, 2009
Ryan Siracuse was selected as Junior Grand Marshal of 2009 St. Patrick's Day Parade. .
Below information from the CPHS NEWSLETTER, March, 2010.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th, but Bethpage will beat that date with its festivities on March 7th. This year the Bethpage community is proud to have Francis (Frank) Meehan as Grand Marshal of our parade as we march, after the l:00 PM Mass from St. Martin of Tours Church on Central Avenue, down Stewart Avenue, to Burkhardt then to Broadway to the reviewing stand. Francis has called Bethpage home for fifty years with his wife, Kathleen, and their children: Keith, Diane, Sean, Mary Dolores, Dennis, Patricia and Michael. Francis is an active member of St. Martin of Tours Church, Knights of Columbus, Catholic War Veterans, Quartermaster of the Butehorn Brothers Post 4987 VFW, and a member of the Central Park Historical Society.
St. Patrick's Day 2011 - Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano has been named Grand Marshall of the 20th Annual Bethpage St. Patrick's Day Parade to be held on Sunday, March 6, 2011 following the 1:00PM Mass at St. Martin of Tours RC Church. After the Mass the parade through Bethpage followed by speaches and a reception to celebrate the Irish in our community.
St. Patrick's Day 2012 - Eamon Fitzgerald is the Grand Marshall. On the first Sunday of March, March 4th, Bethpage will celebrate St, Patrick at the 1:00 Mass at St. Martin of Tours RC Church. Followed by a parade along Central Avenue, down Stewart Avenue, and up Broadway to the reviewing stand where the marches will be honored, speeches made. Eamon Fitzgerald was born in Ireland and immigrated to America in 1965. He worked for Aer Lingus from which he retired in 1999. Eamon and his wife raised their family in Bethpage and are active members of St. Martin of Tours RC Church.
St. Patrick's Day 2013 - Deacon Thomas Hennessy has been named Grand Marshall of the 22nd Annual Bethpage St. Patrick's Day Parade to be held Sunday, March 3, 2013. Tom has always been proud of his Irish American heritage. Tom has led the New York State Courts Pipes and Drums Band and the Court Officer contingent up 5th Avenue on St. Patrick's Day for over 25 years. For many years he has been the homilist at the annual Bethpage St. Patrick's Day Mass. Information from THE BETHPAGE TRIBUNE January 18, 2012.
Annual Bethpage St. Patrick's Day Parade - Sunday March 2, 2014 - Tess Steubing (nee McSweeny) will lead the 2014 Bethpage St. Patrick's Parade through downtown Bethpage. Tess is a longtime resident of Bethpage. 87 years young - a mother of five, grandmother of thirteen, and great grandmother of thirteen and those who know Tess know her as "IRISH SPIRITED through and through" Information from THE BETHPAGE TRIBUNE January 31, 2014.
Father Patrick Woods, C.Ss.R. will lead the 2015 Bethpage St. Patrick's Day Parade. Rev. Patrick Woods, C.Ss.R., pastor of St. Martin of Tours Church, receives the Grand Marshal's sash after being chosen to lead the 2015 Bethpage St. Patrick's Parade. Father Woods is a Brooklynite of Irish descent. His mother was from Flagmont, County Clare and his father was from Kilkanena, County Clare. He was ordained a Redemptorist in 1975. He has served as an educator, Provincial of the Baltimore Province and is an ongoing member of a mission team with Fr. John McGowan, C.Ss.R. They have given missions from the Caribbean to Ireland and all along the east coast of the United States. In 2010, after serving as Provincial for the northeast, Fr. Woods was assigned to be pastor of St. Martin of Tours Church. Information from THE BETHPAGE TRIBUNE January 23, 2015
The 25th Annual Bethpage Saint Patrick's Parade - Honoring Kathy Brenton - as the 2016 Grand Marshal. Kathy is a founder of the Bethpage St. Patrick's Parade. In addition, she has organized the reception following the parade for the past 24 years.
The 2016 celebration will start at the 1:00 PM Mass; the parade will step-off at 2:00 (after the mass) through downtown Bethpage with a reception immediately following the parade at St. Martin of Tours Emmaus Hall Auditorium and Cafeteria. Information from the St. Martin of Tours Sunday Bulletin - February 7, 2016.
The Bethpage 2017 St. Patrick's Day will honor Thomas McKeon as Grand Marshal. Thomas is Captain of the Bethpage Fire Department; lived in Bethpage for 36 years with his wife Nancy and their 2 daughters and parishioners of St. Martin of Tours. Tom is a decorated member of the New York City Department of Corrections and is now retired. Active in the Emerald Society. Information from February 19, 2017 St. Martin of Tours Bulletin.
The 27th annual St. Patrick's Parade, March 4, 2018, honored John McCarthy as Grand Marshal. John is a Bethpage resident for over 50 years, retired from the Banking industry. John is a dedicated member of Saint Martin of Tours for over 15 years serving as a Trustee, treasure, and the Conference of Saint Vincent DePaul. Over past years John has helped to make the St. Patrick's Parade a success. Information from the February 9, 2018 BETHPAGE TRIBUNE.
St. Patrick's parade and celebration honoring 2019 Grand Marshal William Scharen will step off after the 1:00 pm Mass at St. Martin of Tours R.C. Church on March 3rd. Grand Marshal William Scharen, family, friends and dignitaries will join the color guard, pipe bands, and marching units to lead the parade through downtown Bethpage. William Scharen a Bethpage resident for 40 years, retired from the insurance industry, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours parish where he served 2 terms on the Parish Council and coordinator for 4 years on the Pre Cana program and for the past two years served as the President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 15 Michael F. Hogan in Massapequa Park. Information from the January 18, 2019 BETHPAGE TRIBUNE.
John McTigue was chosen as the 29th Grand Marshall of the Bethpage Saint Patrick's Day Parade taking place on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at one o'clock. John has lived in Bethpage with his wife Karin since 1976 with three children - Jack, Steven and Katrina, and is now retired, tax partner, from Ernst & Young as a CPA. John is proud to have served in the Marine Corp reserve, coached youth soccer, baseball and basketball and is the Treasurer for the Bethpage Educational Foundation. As a member of St. Martin of Tours parish he serves on the finance committee and is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Information from the January 31, 2020 BETHPAGE TRIBUNE
30th Annual Bethpage St. Patrick's Celebration - John Castles - 2021 Grand Marshall. John a longtime Bethpage resident, a graduate of Bethpage High School and a member of the Bethpage Fire Department. John served in the New York City Police Department for five years. Following in his father's footsteps, he transferred to FDNY (the New York City Fire Department). John's son Ryan is currently a member of FDNY - that's three generations of firefighters in FDNY. John is a member of the Bethpage Fire Department, currently serving as 1st Asst. Chief of the Bethpage Fire Department. He has been a trainer at the Nassau County Fire Academy. John is often invited to the Bethpage Schools to teach the children about fire safety. John is known for his dedicated service to the Bethpage community and, of course, he has been a regular in the Bethpage St. Patrick's Parade. Due to the Pandemic, the committee has decided to keep the Bethpage St. Patrick's Parade tradition going, although in an abbreviated form. The celebration will begin with the 12:00 PM Mass at St. Martin of Tours, followed by a "Stroll up Broadway" to Benkert St. Grand Marshall John J. Castles will lead the "Stroll" which will include former Grand Marshals, John's family and friends. If possible, there will be one band.
As the first Grand Marshal, Connie Doolan said when snow, rain, or heavy winds threatened to cancel the parade: "We march" and we always did.
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