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Camden parade celebrates Irish, start of spring

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 3/16/23

The 20th annual Camden NY Irish Parade returns this Saturday, March 18, to offer a festive celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

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Camden parade celebrates Irish, start of spring


CAMDEN — The 20th annual Camden NY Irish Parade returns this Saturday, March 18, to offer a festive celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Event spokesperson Meaghan Hayes says it is especially fun to see all of the children there, both enjoying participating in the parade and watching the parade as well.

“It’s all about the children for me — I do it all for the kids, of all ages,” Hayes said.

The parade lineup is at 11 a.m. at the Camden Elementary School, 1 Oswego St. The parade starts at 1 p.m., leaving the school to travel down Main Street and ending at Byrne Dairy, Hayes said.

The parade grand marshal is Floyd Heath, a local Irish resident, and the king and queen are local Irish couple Melissa and Tyler Hayes.

“I’m just amazed,” Heath admitted. “I’ve been to many of the parades and it’s all good - the fife and drum groups and all of the other marchers. It’s going to be a great time.”

According to an official New York State resolution sponsored by Sen. Joe Griffo, Heath joined the United States Army in 1966 and proudly served his country for 26 months and six days during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Bronze Good Conduct Medal, the Bronze National Defense Service Medal, the Bronze Vietnam Service Medal and the Bronze Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon.

Griffo’s resolution compliments Heath as a “fitting choice for grand marshal,” saying he “embodies the spirit and the cherished ideals and values of Irish-Americans of this great state and nation - he is a steadfast champion of all things Irish and Irish-American.”

The parade features four bands, the Camden Continentals, the Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band, the Mohawk Valley Frasiers and the 10th Mountain Division Band from Fort Drum. Several area fire departments will also bring out their emergency vehicles.

Other parade participants already signed up include area girl scouts, the Total Chaos Rodeo Drill Team, Shorty’s Deli, Camden Little League, Litterio’s Tavern, Blossvale Boggers ATV Group, Sto-Ne-Nols Campground, Bumpin’ Becky’s Entertainment, Primal Tee Shop, Liberty Fuels, International Wire, Oneida Health Quick Care, Fenton Ford, Oneida County Legislator Michael Waterman, potential Oneida County Executive candidate Michael Hennessy and Oneida County District Attorney candidate Todd Carville.

They will be joined by the Rusty Roof restaurant, Colonial Parkway Rehabilitation, Believe 271 Foundation, Camden Cycle Riders, Bliss Environmental Services, The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing, Butler Sheehan Irish Dance Academy, Victory Chrysler Dodge Ram Jeep, Red’s Contracting, Teddy’s Treats, Poulin Eye Care Center, Mike Jr’s Auto Repair, the TC Riders snowmobile club, the Camden bus garage and the Maley, Hayes and Kelly clans.

Others will be added, Hayes said, with a final lineup to be announced.

Oh Sew Vinyl Creations, 56 Main St., is offering a green line of St. Patrick’s Day apparel and accessories to wear for the occasion. Shop owner Chelsea Windhausen said she has a limited supply available now of specially created T-shirts, hats, necklaces, hair bows, earrings, headbands and glasses ­— plus cups for green beverages — so parade watchers can dress for the party.

And even before the parade, Windhausen said she also enjoys watching as the traditional green shamrock is painted on Main Street near the shop.

“I am a big fan of green,” Windhausen said. “This gives me the chance to put my own little touch on things for the event. There is going to be a lot of people and a lot of fun.”

It’s not too late to send in a donation to help support the event this year and in the future. Checks can be made payable to “Camden NY Irish Parade” and sent to 11750 Hayes Road, Camden, NY 13316.

And the parade not only celebrates the Irish and their holiday, but also heralds a new brighter season, Hayes said.

“This is a kickoff also for spring,” she explained. “It means warmer weather is coming soon.”



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