This Sunday: St. Pat’s for All
Kick off the month of March with the St. Pat’s for All parade this Sunday, March 1, in Sunnyside and Woodside, Queens. This annual parade began in 2000 as an alternative to Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, which has typically banned LGBT organizations from marching.
A Daily News article from last year tells the story of how gay activist Brendan Fay started organizing the parade:
After being arrested in 1999 Fay decided he was going to organize his own parade that said everyone was welcome. “Catholic, Protestant, gay, straight, all of us together,” he says. “I called loads of Irish groups whom I thought would be thrilled to participate. Many said they wanted nothing to do with this parade.”
Then one day while he was sitting in a Chilean restaurant in Woodside, the owner asked Fay what he was up to. “I told him we were trying to organize a St. Patrick’s Day parade that said everyone was welcome,” Fay says. “He took me into the kitchen and up on the wall was a picture of Bernard O’Higgins, the first president of Chile. He asked if he could have a Chilean group in the parade. I said, of course!”
Soon Fay was signing up Mexican groups representing the celebrated San Patricio Brigade that defended the Mexicans in the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48, a Peruvian group carrying the banner of Irish patriot Roger Casement, a group of Black and Latino Irish step dancers from the Bronx.
This year the parade starts at 1:30 at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, and ends at 61st Street and Woodside Avenue in Woodside. For more information see the St. Pat’s for All website and the About.com article.