Local Irishmen of Long Beach, N.Y., unlike the Irish of many other places, celebrate their ethnic heritage each year not on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, but on the first Saturday of October. Last year, however, it was on the last Saturday of September, in order to avoid any conflicts with the local Jews on Yom Kippur. Because they’re a seafaring region, their patron saint is Brendan the Navigator. The day begins with a parade down Beech Street. The Ancient Order of Hibernians figure quite prominently in the festivities. There are Pipe bands, Irish dancers, Irish music and all the other traditional Gaelic trappings. A large section of Beech Street is cordoned off and there are many food, beverage and souvenir stands throughout that section of the city. As with any other such occasion they have many vendors who show up predictably each year. Local establishments, including Swingbelly’s Barbecue Restaurant and the Knights of Columbus Monsignor Cass Council number 2626, are open to patrons. Tourists arrive from all over the United States in order to see this colorful spectacle. Newsmen from several local periodicals and television networks are always there so they can let people see what’s going on. It’s always difficult to park that day. Anyone in the city had better make sure he is willing and able to walk quite a distance in order to see all the interesting colorful sights.
WHENCE I CAME