21 Aug 2014
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Friends of Erin Want to Change Parade to St. Patrick's Day

For the 2013 parade, the Montauk group wants to hold the parade on the actual holiday instead of April 7, as had been previously decided.

Friends of Erin Want to Change Parade to St. Patrick's Day

After some negative feedback about the date for the 2013 St. Patrick's Parade, the organization decided to change the date and hold it on the very holiday it's all about.

The group wants to hold the 51st parade will be held on March 17, 2013, starting at 11:30 a.m., according to Joe Bloecker, the president.

The parade requires a mass gathering permit, issued by the town board, which will have to be taken care of in the coming months. It remains to be seen what town board officials and the police department have to say.

Bloecker said the members took into account the reaction of some of the businesses when .

"This happens to be a very difficult year to schedule the parade. This is probably an issue a lot of groups are having," Bloecker said.

They reached the April date because the parade has typically been held on the Sunday after St. Patrick's Day, which in 2013 falls on a Sunday. However, the following Sunday is Palm Sunday and the Sunday after that is Easter.

The New York City parade will be held on March 16, a Saturday. Bloecker said the Montauk Friends of Erin was under the impression that it was because the Cardinal doesn't want it to be held on a Sunday.

After speaking with the leader of the Catholic Church in Montauk, the Rev. Mike Reider of , they found the church was amenable to having the parade on St. Patrick's Day.

"The officers felt we may have made a bad decision," with not enough people voting on the initial date change, Bloecker said of the membership. They decided to change the date this week.

Last March, the parade was held on a traditional date, but at an earlier time — 10 a.m. The crowd that turned out was . Bloecker previously said that it was successful in that there were no arrests of a violent nature, when in the past crowds of an estimated 35,000 people have produced dozens of calls for fights during and following afternoon parades. However, a smaller crowd meant less business on a date that has long been considered the unofficial start of the season in Montauk.

"We're keenly aware that the business looks forward to the parade, but we're also keenly aware of the problems we were beginning to have," Bloecker said.

He hopes the 11:30 start time will still keep crowds manageable, but allow the businesses to make more money.

"We're trying to do the right thing by the community," he said. "Hopefully this works out for the best of everybody."

What do you think of having the parade on March 17?

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