It was a great day for those with Irish spirit March 13 as the St. James Chamber of Commerce hosted a car parade where dozens of business owners traveled in their vehicles through the streets of the hamlet to wish everyone an early happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Kerry Maher-Weisse, parade director, chamber member and president of the Community Association of St. James, said parade organizers were caught off guard last year as they received news a few days before the 2020 parade that it could not be held due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
While New York State guidelines still don’t allow for a traditional parade, Maher-Weisse said the parade organizers felt something needed to be done to bring back some kind of normalcy to the hamlet. She said they decided on a car parade with a route that would go through various streets to keep spectators spread out.
“We don’t want to keep on losing the aspect of community, and this meant saying it’s okay to come out with a mask and to reinstate that we can go back to normal or somewhat of a new norm,” she said.
This year the grand marshal was not an individual but all St. James residents, Maher-Weisse said. The decision was to honor how neighbors and business owners came together to help each other during the pandemic. The parade director said an example was Norman Keil Nurseries delivering free pansies to everyone in St. James last spring. She said it may be something that seems small but raised spirits.
“We pulled together as neighbors, businesses, residents and families,” she said.