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Irish spirit rampant at 23rd annual St. Patrick’s Parade in Rockville Centre

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Hundreds of people from Rockville Centre and beyond turned out for the 23rd annual St. Patrick’s Parade, which weaved through the village on March 23, spreading Irish and community pride.

The parade stepped off for the first time on March 22, 1997, and has since raised more than $1.2 million for 67 charities. Drew Bogner, president of Molloy College, led the charge as this year’s grand marshal, as various community groups, elected officials and local leaders followed.

Known as one of the only parades in the country “that cares and shares,” each year the parade committee selects a local, national and Irish charity to benefit. This year, donations will be given to the Opening Word, a group that provides literacy, English as a Second Language and job-readiness programs to immigrant women on Long Island; the HEARTest Yard, a North Carolina-based charity that helps babies afflicted with hypoplastic left heart syndrome; and the New York Irish Center, a community center in Long Island City founded in 2005, which offers social and cultural services to Irish immigrants in the tristate area.