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Bayonne readies for celebrations

Bayonne's mayor, Mark A. Smith, is planning to turn the New Jersey city green to mark St. Patrick's Day.

Three weeks of celebration kick off this Sunday, Feb 24, with the Grand Marshal's brunch at Chandelier Restaurant, 1080 Broadway starting at 11 a.m. and will climax on St. Patrick's Day itself with the annual parade.

As St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday this year, the big New York parade will take place on Saturday 16 March. And that, say Bayonne boosters, will likely lead to record numbers coming out to the New Jersey town for its annual Irish celebration.

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"Bayonne is an ethnically diverse community and we have a longstanding tradition of celebrating our diversity with parades and cultural events and displays," Mayor Smith told the Irish Echo.

"We have a vibrant Irish American community that takes great pride in sharing their heritage. Our parade, now in its 32nd year, will be led by Grand Marshal Bill Dwyer and will be the longest in the region with over 2,000 marchers representing 70 different organizations."

Parade day festivities will begin with Mass at St. Henry Church at 10:30 a.m. while the parade will step off at 1 p.m. sharp, following a route along Broadway.

On March 1, the Irish Flag Raising will take place at Bayonne Municipal Building at 5 p.m. followed by the Shamrock Social Party in Holy Family Academy from 8 p.m. Tickets from Una Hughes (201)240-7988.

On March 7, the Hudson County Flag Raising will take place at Brennan Courthouse, Jersey City at 5 p.m. From 7:30 p.m. that evening, the Bayonne Parade Committee will host an Irish Arts Event at the Bayonne Community Museum, 229 Broadway. There will displays of memorabilia from three decades of St. Patrick's parades in the city and a free concert by Mary Courtney and Morning Star.

On March 14, Mayor Smith will host a senior luncheon in Bayonne with music by Andrew Sharp and Peter McKiernan. On the 17th and after the parade, the parade committee after-party will take place in St. Andrew's Gym, 126 Broadway from 2:30 p.m.