This time of the year I enjoy participating in the St. Patrick’s Parades in both Belmar and Asbury Park. While it’s a day to celebrate Irish heritage it’s also a day for all communities to come out and enjoy the festivities of the parade.

The Belmar St. Patrick’s Parade is held every year on the first Sunday of March. It was started in 1974 and its New Jersey’s largest parade with usually over 150,000 people and over 200,000 people when the weather has been exceptional. All the happy spectators line the streets of Belmar and Lake Como. Over 4,000 marchers with more than 35 bands and so many floats make this parade a must-see event.

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Belmar and Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Parades are two of my favorite days. We broadcast a shortened edition of my show from The Celtic Cottage in Long Branch before the Belmar Parade. The Celtic Cottage serves up an Irish breakfast, the music is going, a Bloody Mary and a Guinness beer or two may be served and then at noon we board the Long Branch Trolley with the New Jersey 101.5 Big Yellow Vans in tow, and head to the staging area at the parade.

Once there we banner the trolley and the convertible that I ride in and my friends George Beckett and Kevin Feehan set it all up and down the streets we go. It is a rush for me to see all the people celebrating and I get a chance to say hello to the many parade attendees who travel to Belmar from all over the state to enjoy the parade. It’s a tradition that I’ve participated in for over 25 years.

I will so miss that this year, as like so many events, the parade this year has been cancelled. The same is true for Asbury Park’s St. Patrick’s Parade which is usually held the second Sunday in March. I enjoy the Asbury Park parade very much as it’s usually draped in music and fun. I’ve been honored to be the Grand Marshall of the Asbury Park parade in 2015. The parade has grown every year and more and more have flocked to town to enjoy the festivities.

Big Joe Henry at Belmar's St Patrick's parade 2020 (Chris Eannucci, Townsquare Media)

Usually after the parade my friend Bobby Bandiera and his band perform at The Wonder Bar. It’s a great after party that’s open to the public and I love the great music and running into friends who I haven’t seen in a while. Hopefully all the fun will return next year. I shared two videos from the past parades here so we can relive and remember all the fun this year.  I hope you enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day and I hope to see you next year at the parades!

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