Kings Park parade committee selects 2017 St. Patrick’s grand marshals
The parade may be over, but the Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has been keeping busy, working on the preparations for its 2017 Grand Marshal Ball and 2017 St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Within three weeks of the 2016 parade, one of the largest on Long Island, committee members were reviewing various phases of the 2016 parade. The first order of business was to select a grand marshal. In an unprecedented move, the McWilliams Sisters — Cathy Donnelly, Barbara Griffin and Marge Stajk — were named to lead the 2017 St. Patrick’s Parade.
This honor is believed to be unique, as three siblings were named grand marshals, the organizers said.
The McWilliams sisters were selected based on their Irish heritage, community spirit, and personal demeanor. Their parents, Edward and Margaret McWilliams, moved from County Carlow, Ireland, settling in Kings Park, where the parents opened the Park Diner in 1944. The family consisted of three sisters, Catherine, Barbara, and Margaret, and three brothers, Edward, Joseph, and Ronald.
The sisters attended St. Joseph’s School until the 8th grade, graduated from Kings Park High School, and raised their families in Kings Park. The parade committee noted that each sister donated time and efforts toward various charitable endeavors, especially as members of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 3.
The Grand Marshal Ball will be held at Flowerfields, on Friday, November 18. The event will consist of the presentation of the “McWilliams Sisters,” Irish music and dance, raffles, and live band. The Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day parade will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017.
The committee thanked Kevin “The Professor” Denis for his extraordinary efforts as its chairman. As one of the Parade’s founders, he excelled at raising the necessary funding for the parade, which features more than 20 bagpipe bands, fire departments, floats, and organizations. During the past six years, the Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade has become one of the largest parades on Long Island. Denis will continue to aid the committee. Kevin Johnston was named the committee’s new chairman.