The 37th Annual Belmar-Lake Como Saint Patrick's Day Parade will roll down Main Street on Sunday. Lads and lasses from across the state will don their green finery and make their way to the borough to join in the celebration.
As we hope you will join us in celebrating Irish heritage, here are five tips to make sure your parade experience goes smoothly.
1. Bring An Umbrella: It seems not even the luck of the Irish will keep things dry this year. While temperatures are now predicted to reach a comfortable 52 degrees, there is an 80 percent chance of precipitation. There has never been a rain day for the event and organizers have no intent of starting now. There will still be plenty of good times to be had, but water-repellent clothing and an umbrella will be sure to improve spirits.
2. Get There Early: Despite the forecast, thousands of spectators are expected to flood the borough of Belmar to join in the fun. The parade is not scheduled to begin until 12:30 p.m. but it is not uncommon to see revelers line Main Street hours beforehand. We suggest arriving early enough to stake out some good real estate along the parade route.
3. Don't Miss the Pipes and Drums: If you were to see just one of the dozens of organizations expected to march in this year's parade, we urge you not to miss the Pipes and Drums of the Jersey Shore Shillelagh. These hometown heroes spend their year playing at a number of charitable events and always put on a great show. Expect to see these intrepid musicians decked out in their finest caps and kilts come Sunday morning.
4. Enjoy Some Traditional Irish Fare: If you're cold and rain-soaked, the folks from Connolly Station have the prescription for you— a heaping serving of their Shepard's Pie. Their take on this Irish favorite is true to the original, featuring delicious ground beef and vegetables topped with piping hot mashed potatoes. In years past, Connolly Station has served food outside on their patio for the parade-goer on the move. It remains to be seen if the weather will force them inside.
5. Hit the After Party: After the parade is over, The Barclay will host the event's after party from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The cost is only $10 and includes a free buffet. Live entertainment will be provided by local Celtic Folk rockers The Snakes. Fans of bands like The Pogues or Flogging Molly will be sure to love their mix of original songs, covers and traditionals. Their song "I Love Saint Patrick's Day on the Jersey Shore" has become an unofficial Belmar Parade anthem. The Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Old Bridge Chapter Pipe and Drum Band will also play.