A time for Irish pride

Thousands turn out for the 23rd annual Irish Day parade and festival


The 23rd annual Irish Day parade and festival kicked off in Long Beach last Saturday, where thousands — both Irish and non-Irish alike — marched in celebration of the heritage and history of the Irish.

Throngs of residents and numerous groups and organizations, including the Michelle O’Neill Foundation and West End Neighbors Civic Association, among others, took part in the parade, which began at Washington Boulevard.

This year’s grand marshal was Veronica Danca, principal of Long Beach Catholic Regional School.

“We were honored to give that title to somebody who has given years of service to this community,” said Parade Chairman Bernie Petty.

The A.O.H. Long Beach Division 17 said that the event promotes Irish culture. City officials, members of the A.O.H., veterans’ groups as well as members of the city’s police and fire departments, came together to embrace the cultural event, which featured Irish dancers, bagpipe and school bands and plenty of festivities.

Petty said that the event is always well attended and not only celebrates Irish heritage, but also shines a light on local community groups.

“We have everyone from law enforcement agencies to the Hagen School of Irish Dance,” said Petty. “I feel that it was a huge success, a beautiful day … everyone came together to make it a positive experience so that the residents of Long Beach could enjoy it.”