Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade committees in full swing preparing for big day

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – As we inch closer to Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade, first we need to recognize this year’s people who are making it possible.

Parade committees across western Massachusetts are in full swing, preparing for the big day on March 17th.

Saturday night, the Holyoke Parade Committee here their annual awards dinner at the Wherehouse in Holyoke. It’s a night to honor the contributions of the winners of the Rohan, O’Connell, Gallivan and citizenship awards.

2018 Gallavin Award Recipient, David Griffin told 22News, “I’ve been on the parade committee for 44 years. It’s always very humbling to be recognized by other committee members for really a labor of love.”

We are all hoping for good weather for the 67th annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade on March 18th and the 43rd annual road race on the 17th.

And it was a similar story in a different city. In West Springfield, the parade committee honored their award recipients but Saturday night was also the big night where they crowned the next colleen.

2018 Colleen Jenna Caron Melvin and her court. (Justin Foley via ReportIt@wwlp.com)

Earlier this month, a field of ladies was whittled down to just 10. One was chosen as the colleen, several others will make up her court. They will appear in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s parade representing their Irish heritage and their city.

22News spoke with the 2018 Ray Distefano citizenship award recipient before the crowning. “It’s a great honor to have people recognize my wife, myself,” said Joe Calabrese. “We’re here on behalf of Lisa’s Light of Hope. It’s a foundation for raising money for eating disorders.”

Saturday night’s Irish celebration took place at the Springfield Country Club on Elm Street in Springfield. State Rep. Michael Finn was the event’s emcee.

Jenna Caron-Melvin of West Springfield was crowned this year’s colleen.