The 51st Montauk St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday ran especially smoothly, much to the pleasant surprise of those who helped organize the major event.
“I’m going to tell you who the biggest winner was,” said Joe Bloecker, the acting president of the Montauk Friends of Erin, a group dedicated to organizing and raising funds for the parade. “The biggest winners were the people of Montauk, because we had a great parade, we had very, very little trouble, the weather was nice, the crowd came. The Friends of Erin could not be any happier with the way that went off.”
About 25,000 people attended the parade, according to an estimate from East Hampton Town Police Chief Eddie Ecker Jr. There were at least 100 police officers from multiple jurisdictions patrolling the event.
This year’s parade occurred on St. Patrick’s Day, the first time that’s happened in many years, according to Mr. Bloecker. Chief Ecker summed up this year’s festivities as “more behaved” than in years past, when authorities have had to deal with hordes of drunk, boisterous youngsters who arrive en masse on Long Island Rail Road trains. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police officers checked bags and containers for alcohol after people got off the trains to help curb drunken behavior. “The MTA’s great to us,” Chief Ecker said.
Police made 11 arrests, said Chief Ecker. Of those, four were DWI arrests. The remainder were related to incidents such as disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana. There were five charges of urinating in public, and 23 summonses written for open alcohol containers in public, said the chief. In total, the Town Police Department received 86 calls for service yesterday; of those, 33 were related to the parade.
“I thought it was a great parade,” said the chief.
This year, the first-place prize for floats went to the Montauk School. The float featured two graduates from each year Superintendent Jack Perna, this year’s grand marshal, has been employed there, according to Mr. Bloecker. The second-place prize was awarded to Nancy Atlas and the Elvises. Third place went to the Promised Land Salvage Company.
In total, there were 62 groups that took part in the parade. That’s a slightly smaller lineup than past parades, where there have been 85 groups, said Mr. Bloecker. That’s probably because some groups were participating in other parades that were happening across Long Island on the same day, he said.
Parade planning for the 52nd Montauk St. Patrick’s Day Parade began on Monday, said Mr. Bloecker. Aside from finding a better way to raise money for the event—the parade cost about $32,000 and bills are still coming in, said Mr. Bloecker—there’s not much he would change next year.
“If we could have every parade come off the way this parade did for the next 49 years, I’d be very, very happy,” Mr. Bloecker said.