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Everyone is a bit Irish during annual St. Paddy's Day festivities in Camden (VIDEO)

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 3/18/23

The 20th annual Camden NY Irish Parade gave a taste of home to an Irish native when it returned Saturday, March 18, 2023 to travel down Main Street in the village. See video in the article.

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Everyone is a bit Irish during annual St. Paddy's Day festivities in Camden (VIDEO)


CAMDEN —  The 20th annual Camden NY Irish Parade gave a taste of home to Brian Fitzharris of Canastota when it returned Saturday to travel down Main Street in the village.

Fitzharris is originally from the Emerald Isle, so he decided to dress for the party along with his 5-year-old son Jack. Both wore bright green clothes, accented with dyed red and orange beards, respectively, although Jack's own beard appeared to be artificial. Jack also carried a wee pot o' gold.

Fitzharris said he came out to the festivities in Camden for the first time this year after hearing good things about the festivities there. He felt right at home.

"This makes me feel proud," he said of the event. "This is just like the parades back in Ireland."

(See video here.)

The parade started at Camden Elementary School at the corner of Main and Oswego streets and traveled down Main Street through the heart of the village to end at Byrne Dairy. Hundreds of mostly green-clad spectators from all over the area lined either side of the street along the parade route.

Bands included the Camden Continentals, the Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band, the Mohawk Valley Frasiers and the 10th Mountain Division Band. Several area fire departments came out with their emergency vehicles and floats, courtesy of area residents, groups and businesses.

Floyd Heath was the grand marshal of the parade and Melissa and Tyler Hayes were the king and queen. Heath's vehicle stopped near the announcing stand and New York State Sen. Joe Griffo, joined by other local government officials, presented him with an official state proclamation. It commemorated both Heath's role in the parade and his U.S. Army service to his country during the Vietnam War.

The parade went very well, said co-organizer Senator Hayes. He gave special thanks to the Camden Village Board, Griffo, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Oneida County Legislator Mike Waterman, the Camden Fire Department, the Oneida County Sheriff's office and the Camden Police Department for helping make it a success.

"We love to do this for the community and will continue to do so," Hayes promised.

Melissa Demeyers watched the parade from the sidewalk in front of her Main Street home, hinting she might have had a bit of "Irish cheer" added to her coffee mug. She said the parade always brings out a big crowd each year and is fun for both the Irish and the Irish at heart.

"It's just fabulous," she said. "Everybody here is a little bit Irish today."

Camden VFW Post 6530 member Kris Hummel also dressed as a leprechaun and offered "coins" to parade watchers from his own pot o' gold. He said the event also gave him the chance to promote the reforming of the local VFW chapter in addition to celebrating the holiday.

Hummel said he had moved away from Camden for a while but didn't find that kind of fun holiday celebration anywhere else.

"I love the St. Patrick's Day festivities here," Hummel said.


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