St. Patrick’s for All Parade in Sunnyside Queens

The St. Pat’s For All Parade is the most unique & diverse St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York.  The 2012 theme is “cherishing all the children of the nation equally” & is taken from the 1916 Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Come to hear the live music, watch the dancing & the procession of different community groups march in celebration. Local Mama Kelly O’Neil tells us a little but more about the parade and why it is so awesome.

I first heard about this small local parade many years ago, but never attended until 2010. It was a gorgeous sunny day & was so warm that I took my 3 week old daughter out of her snug stroller to watch the festive procession pass on by.  She was decked out in green like many of the spectators on the street. People are encouraged to dress up & feel like they are part of the celebration even if they are not marching. There was plenty of wide open space along Skillman Ave. to stand or even sit along the curb & take a rest. There weren’t huge crowds like the big parade in Manhattan, just a nice small town feel perfect for families to enjoy.

Dana Cotton, the youth coordinator, has been working on the line up for 2012 so the kids watching on the sidelines will be entertained as well.  There will be a special appearance by Long Island City’s very own Circus Warehouse with jugglers, performers on stilts & other acrobatics. The larger than life puppets from the Brooklyn Puppet Co-op will also be a grand sight for kids! Other kids’ groups include the P.S. 59 Keltic Dream Irish Dancers from the Bronx, the I.S. 230 marching band & the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Football Club that will have a float this year!

The most amazing thing about this parade is the diversity & the Irish hospitality extended to anyone who wishes to march. There were groups from all walks of life & everyone is invited to march regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation. In the past there has been a Caribbean group, a Bolivian group dancing caporales (a folklore dance native to La Paz, Bolivia), & even a group of dogs has marched! We have never seen an inclusive St. Patrick’s Parade quite like this one!

St. Pat’s For All is a family friendly & community oriented event.  It is truly a unique experience that all local residents from surrounding neighborhoods should come out & enjoy.  Local businesses, community groups, unions, artists & musicians (including pipers, dancers & puppeteers) all participate in this culminating event! Don’t be surprised if you also see local politicians such as Christine Quinn & Mayor Bloomberg marching as well!

Beware,  this parade is rain or shine so come out with umbrellas if it rain and then join the post-parade festivities!  Dana Cotton also reminded us that Brendan Fay the founder of the parade always says, ” If it does rain it will feel more like Ireland!”

Parade Tips:

“Dress up, decorate your strollers, fly a flag, bang a drum or pots & pans! You can register as a group, create a banner and march down the parade route. Most importantly- come out and have a good time!”, said Dana. It is not too late to register as a group to march. If anyone would like to make a banner that says, “Queens Mamas” feel free to do so, create a group & even show up on the day of. No one is turned away!

When: Sunday March 4, 2012  1pm Assembly- remarks & music, 2pm sharp Kick-Off

Where: Sunnyside/Woodside beginning at Skillman Avenue & 47th Street & ending on Woodside Avenue & 58th Street

Ages: All ages

Post-Parade Festivities: The annual party is held at Saints & Sinners on 60th Street & Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside. Other local pubs will also have live music & be celebrating:  Claret Wine Bar on 46th Street & Skillman Avenue

The Dog & The Duck on 46th Street & Skillman Avenue

For more info or to register as a group or individual to march visit:


By Kelly O’Neil