History on Friends of St. Patrick
The winters were long and dreary, with the streets nearly desolate of pedestrians or traffic, as the community awaited the return of its large population of summer residents. Spring couldn’t come soon enough to those, that lived here year round. What could be done, to bring folks out and turn the gray into green again?
Two local businessmen, John M. Sullivan and George Faulkner, pondered this thought and formed a committee, consisting of local residents and businessmen, in 1949, which devised a method to rouse those neighbors from the gray doldrums of another blustery season. What better way to bring out the “green” to the surrounding hamlets, than celebrating an early return of spring, by organizing a parade in honor of St. Patrick to erase the grayness that had prevailed for, seemingly, endless months. The "Friends of St. Patrick" was born, and the arrival of an early spring now had a new beginning. On the Saturday afternoon, before the official date of St. Patrick’s Day, on March 17, 1951 at 3pm, Co-Grand Marshal John H. Sullivan and George Faulkner donned a top hat, while sitting atop 2 sturdy local horses, and departed John’s local business establishment of "Sullivan’s Tavern" at Harrison Avenue and Route 25A, in Miller Place, to lead, what would be the first of scores of annual parades. Heading east, members of the community joined in and followed the festive journey, along a heavily wooded and rustic Route 25A, with the final destination being, what is now known as Downtown Rocky Point. It was a time for friends, and neighbors alike, to reconnect, mingle, and share their stories and experiences about past months, huddled away from the chills of winter. Green became the day’s dominant color, as the muted hues of winter transformed Rocky Point into “Shamrocky Point”!
Nearly 1000 people attended that fateful day, as Master of Ceremonies, William McCarrick, introduced the first Queen of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Peggy McKenna, to an applauding crowd, as she arrived in a historic 85-year-old carriage at the square off Broadway, in Rocky Point. Marchers, and spectators alike, listened to a song sung by Maureen Faulkner, followed by talks from dignitaries Justice of the Peace Kenson D. Merrill and Rev. Vincent Margiotta, Pastor of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. Before a county police department was established, Brookhaven Town Police Ptl., George McMullen, saw to it, that the color scheme of the day was maintained, by keeping the few traffic lights in the area on green, during the event.
Now, well into its sixth decade, the “Friends of St. Patrick”, currently, has active second and third generation members, that participate in organizing and executing its annual parade and fundraising events. Local populations have grown, and so has the parade, with estimated crowds to be in excess of 50 thousand, plus the thousands of marchers and participants. The parade is now the largest, and second oldest, in Suffolk County, and the most anticipated event of any kind, year after year, to residents, near and far. As the parade has grown, so have the expenses, in preparing and executing such an event.
The parade was organized and established by, and for, the residents in the hamlets of the local areas. The " Friends of St. Patrick " is a registered not-for-profit organization. It relies on donations and monies, raised through fund-raising events in order to offset the costs, associated with this annual historic event. A cocktail/dinner party, golf outing, and an assortment of raffles are held every year, to raise funds, necessary to continue with these efforts. Your kind donation, support, and participation in these events ensures, that this historic parade will take place this year, and for many generations to come! Have a look at our past events.