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February 20, 2024

Paula Campbell
Posted 2/20/24

Many years ago, I got a strong notion in my head that I wanted to march in New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and join my people stepping off and marching up 5th Avenue in grand …

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February 20, 2024


Many years ago, I got a strong notion in my head that I wanted to march in New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and join my people stepping off and marching up 5th Avenue in grand style. I did some research to find out how I could possibly make it happen. What I learned is short of moving to New Jersey, taking up an instrument and joining a marching band or finding a crash course in baton twirling, I would have to join the New York State Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) which is considered the oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization in America originally founded in 1836 to protect new Irish arrivals to America, our churches and clergy from the persecution they were facing as immigrants. To qualify for the Hibernians, you have to be a male over sixteen years old, a practicing catholic, of Irish heritage by birth or descent and be of good moral character-and the nearest chapter of the Hibernians was in the wildlands of outer Brooklyn. There was a Ladies AOH organization called the Daughters of Erin but to join you had to be the wife or the daughter of an AOH member. Needless to say, being immediately disqualified by gender I never joined the AOH or started baton twirling and sadly never did get to march up 5th Avenue with my countrymen. And for the record the AOH did not consider allowing female members until 2022-some 186 years later and how they managed to get away with a clear case of gender discrimination for so long- I do not have a good answer for that one.

As with life in general I will soon be given another opportunity to march in a St Paddy’s Day parade. True it will not be down 5th Avenue but Beaver Brook Road. At the Town of Highland Board meeting last week, John Pizzolato our Town Supervisor, announced that on Sunday March 17th the Marion O’Neil Culture Club will be sponsoring the parade from 1-5pm. Marion O’Neil was a long-time resident of Yulan, a well-respected real estate professional, a community activist and one of the founders of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Yulan. The route being suggested is the traditional one- from Airport Road turning into Beaver Brook Road at the four corners and then marching down to the Park Bar-formerly the Lawrence Lounge and then formerly the old original Park Bar. It is a very short parade route but always heavily weighted in the Irish spirit. At the meeting Supervisor Pizzolato mentioned the Yulan Fire Department, Highland Lake Fire Department, Highland Ambulance Service and the Sheriff will be participating. In years past local businesses would build floats for the parade but at this time I am not sure if there will be floats in this “inaugural” event. Local restaurants will be featuring parade day specials for sure, and we all know, a corn beef and cabbage meal is a must! As more details about the Parade become known (will there be a Grand Marshall?) and emerge, I will let you know the news. If you want more information, you can contact the members of the Culture Club Shane Pearson, Laura Burrell, Maryanne Migliorino, Roswell Hamrick and Tim Oset. 

Get on your calendars whether it’s electronic, Julian, Gregorian, Jewish, Islamic or the free one from the Port Jervis Laundromat and mark a not to be missed event happening on Saturday, March 2nd. On that date from 6:30-9:30pm The Greater Barryville Chamber of Commerce will be holding their annual Winter Warm-Up at the Rivers Edge Restaurant. Tickets are already on sale, and I will share more details next week about all the activities the Chamber of Commerce has planned for the Warmup event. 


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