Girardville marches on
Parade postponed until April 14
Gather ’ round, lads and lasses, with descendants of Gaels garbed in green, enjoy the new spring air with those from Eire and patronize a local pub in the name of St. Patrick at a Celtic cultural celebration in Girardville ... next month, instead of Saturday, all thanks to Mother Nature.
The parade, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until April 14, due to the recent snow, organizers said.
The 15th annual Girardville St. Patrick’s Day Parade will start promptly at noon April 14 in the borough, according to Joe Wayne, president of the Girardville St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and founding member of the celebration. The festivities will begin with an Irish Mass at 10 a. m. at St. Vincent Worship Center, Mahanoy Avenue and Second Street, Wayne said.
This year’s theme is “Salute to the Residents of Girardville,” venerating the towns people who provide hospitality to marchers and paradegoers alike.
“All of our bands that come up here tell us the same thing: ‘ We never get treated and received as well anywhere aswe do in Girardville,’ ” Wayne said. Residents “make everybody feel welcome. Every one of ( the marchers) tell us afterward, they say ‘ You guys here in Girardville treat us better than at any parade we ever go to.’ That goes to show the makeup of the citizens of the town.”
This year’s grand marshal will get to soak in some of the appreciation that the people of Girardville will receive.
“We try to tie the theme of the parade in with the honoree,” Wayne said, and this year, that honoree will be former U. S. representative and current Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Chairman Tim Holden.
“We try to look at someone in prominence in the community, and that’s one reasonwe want to honor Tim Holden,” Wayne said. “He did a lot for Schuylkill County during his time in Congress.”
Other groups participating in the parade will include emergency services, such as fire companies and EMTs, high- wheeled bicycles, Rajah Temple Shriners’ cars and a float, bagpipe bands and of course many divisions of Ancient Order of Hibernians.
“We have a large contingence of AOH and Ladies AOH. We have registration from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Scranton, Jim Thorpe, Pottsville, Saint Clair, Cass Township and ours. Sowe get a pretty good turnout,” Wayne said.
The route for parade participants will start on East Main Street, go down to West Main and onto Julia Street. From there, it will turn right onto Ogden Street, right onto Second Street and left onto A Street, where marchers will disband around borough hall, Wayne said.
Because of the parade route, traffic coming fromthe east will be diverted onto Mahanoy Avenue, Route 54, which will remain open, starting at 9 a. m.
“On thewestern end of town, they’ll probably close that about 11: 45, 15minutes before the parade, because there’ll be people coming in at the lastminute,” and there will be people out collecting donations, Wayne said. “We ask everybody be as generous as possible. They want to enjoy the parade, but it takes a lot of money to put this on, so every little bit helps.”
After the parade, one big party celebrating the home country of so many Coal Region ancestors will follow at the Hibernian House, Beech and Line streets, where awards will be given, and music and carousing will continue.
Wayne wanted to thank the citizens of the borough for their unrelenting support that helped make the parade such a success the last 15 years.
“Quite frankly, I don’t think we’d be getting the response thatwe do if it wasn’t for theway the people of Girardville received everybody. We never thought it was going to take off the way it did.”
“All of our bands that come up here tell us the same thing: ‘ We never get treated and received as well anywhere as we do in Girardville.” Residents “make everybody feel welcome. Every one of ( the marchers) tell us afterward, they say ‘ You guys here in Girardville treat us better than at any parade we ever go to.’ That goes to show the makeup of the citizens of the town.” Joe Wayne, Girardville St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee president
Drum major Linda Loder leads the Hawk Mountain Highlanders during last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year’s parade will begin at noon along East Main Street, Girardville.