HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands proudly marched today, and many thousands more cheered them on during this 64th annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s parade.
This parade celebrating the wearing of the green stirred the emotions of the many thousands who lined the more than two-and-a-half mile parade route.
It was a heart touching moment for the Colleens of past parades, as the young women who succeeded them came by on their ornate floats representing their communities.
1991 Grand Holyoke Colleen Christine Brill said, “My best part of the parade the most joyous moments watching all the little girls, how excited they got and passing by. My family and my mom were so thrilled because she grew up and it’s so important to her.”
There were the marching bands representing so many western Massachusetts cities and towns. It brought back memories for those raised coming to the parade before they moved elsewhere, only to return every year to continue this heritage.
Dee Jones, who was raised in Holyoke, said, “This is homecoming week, when you come back with family, and my family is still here. This is a big event. We’ve been to the New York parade, it’s nothing, the Dublin parade is nothing compared to this.”
22News was determined to find someone who had attended every Holyoke St. Patrick’s parade since its inception 64 years ago. Marie Lively, who was raised in Holyoke, said, “Since we were babies, we’ve been coming to this parade. And that’s why we’re still coming, I keep thinking it’s too cold, but here I am again.”
This loving expression of being Irish has been embraced by many nationalities who now make Holyoke their home.
Antonio Ponte is proud the line of march passes directly in front of his home. “It’s good with everybody, everybody gets happy, has a good day, no trouble and everybody enjoys it.”
22News is proud to have been asked to march in this sea of green. As we bask in the memory of this 64th annual parade, we begin longing for next March, for the 2016 Holyoke St. Patrick’s parade.