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Rockaways Hosts 39th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

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The luck of the Irish was in full swing in the Rockaways Saturday for the 39th Annual St. Patrick's Day parade. NY1’s Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Bagpipes, drums, dancers with heads full of bouncy curls, fisherman's knit sweaters, orange and green and green and green.

It's the 39th Annual St. Patrick's Day parade in the Rockaways, an area of the city sometimes fondly referred to as the Irish Riviera.

"Every year, I come to it," said one paradegoer. "I enjoy it tremendously."

Locals said that the celebration is particularly meaningful now, less than a year and a half after the peninsula was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

"We are still on build back from the storm," said one person. "What you see open now, a lot of it wasn't yet reopened last year's parade."

"We've come a long way since Sandy, but we're not out of the woods yet," said another. "Many people, unfortunately, still haven't come back to their homes yet."

Last year, the parade drew hosts of elected officials, including then-mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. However, this year, the mayor did not participate. The only citywide elected official who marched was Comptroller Scott Stringer.

"Nobody is forgetting this great part of New York," Stringer said.

People in the neighborhood said that this is a highlight of their year, something that even those who move away will often come back for. So what are paradegoers' favorite parts?

"My favorite part of the parade is the ancient order of Hibernians, and the young kids, the young dancers, Irish dancers," said one person.

"I love the band. The bagpipes. This," said another. "I'm feeling Irish today. I'm Dutch."

That was another theme.

"Everyone gets out for the parade, even if you're not Irish," said one person.

For one family, the parade is such a tradition that they make a special effort to ensure their uncle Miles still makes it, even though he's bed-bound in a nearby nursing home.

"It's part of our heritage," said one family member. "We're Irish-American, and it's a fun day for everybody. And my family, my son marches with college. He plays the bagpipes. My husband marches with the court officers, and my uncle here, we bring him down to the corner every year to watch the parade."

They are traditions that they hope to continue for many more years.

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