The Staten Island St. Patrick's Day parade is pulling out all the stops this weekend as it marks a milestone. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.
There will be more bands than ever taking part in the Staten Island St. Patrick's Day parade to mark its 50th anniversary.
"There is just something about the pipe bands. When I hear them playing, I just get tingles through my body," said Richmond Country Ancient Order of the Hibernians President Marty Crimmins.
"It is a big milestone for us. From Starting on Richmond Terrace moved up to Forest Avenue through the years and a lot of great guys that were the grand marshals," said Staten Island St. Patrick's Day Parade Chairman James Haynes III.
Sunday's parade will also feature a float carrying 18 former grand marshals. This year's grand marshal is Gerry Mulvaney, a Staten Island native and longtime member of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. There was also a special invitation for some of the borough's youngest residents.
"We invited all of the Catholic schools on Staten Island to come and march in the parade a lot of them have responded that yes they will be here," said Staten Island St. Patrick's Day Parade President Jack King.
Organizers work all year long to raise the more than $26,000 it takes to put on the parade.
They expect more than 2,000 people will march this year, while another 50,000 will be on the sidelines looking on. But those numbers could fluctuate depending on the weather.
Officials say the parade will go on rain or shine.
"We will get through it. Whether it is sunny or cold we will be down the avenue with a smile. Tipping our hat and saying hello to all," King said.
"Everybody wants to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day that is the real reason. I know we have a lot of Italians here on St. Patrick's Day. I know some people call it Staten Italy. But we call it Staten Ireland and we are proud of our Irish heritage and we are proud of our parade," Crimmins said.
Sunday's parade steps off at the intersection of Hart Boulevard and Forest Avenue at 12:30 p.m.