BERGENFIELD, N.J. — There weren’t enough sweaters in all of Ireland to warm the crowd that showed up in Bergenfield Sunday to watch the 36th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Freezing temperatures meant a smaller crowd than usual lining Washington Avenue.
“It’s crazy to be out here but it’s been a tradition for many years,” said Charles Yates of Washington Township.
“You have to come— family, friends.”
Other parade-goers called the turnout “mellow” and “light” even as they sipped green-colored drinks and huddled under blankets.
Before the marching commenced, The Council of Irish Associations of Bergen County ran a small ceremony at Roy W. Brown Middle School where both the Irish and American national anthems were played.
County Executive James Tedesco III spoke, pointing out that 120,000 Bergen County residents are of Irish descent.
Grand Marshal Kevin Downes delivered an emotional speech, dedicating the parade to his late parents and father-in-law.
He thanked them for “the gift of warmth, a gift of resilience and a gift of character.”
“I want to pass this gift along to my children and the gift is being Irish,” he said.
“Our parents are no longer with us but I pray they have a great seat today at the parade.”
Bergenfield police said the parade ran well and there were no problems.