The Westhampton Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is honoring one of its own this year.
East Quogue native Donna Conti, who has served on the committee for close to 30 years, has been selected to serve as grand marshal of the 47th annual parade, set to step off in the village on Saturday, March 15, at noon.
Ms. Conti, a cafe manager and caterer at the Quogue Beach Club, is the 10th woman chosen to lead the festivities in Westhampton Beach. Her father, Jim Gohery, served as grand marshal in 1995.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “It’s kind of still unbelievable.”
Mr. Gohery had fallen ill recently and is now under hospice care, Ms. Conti explained. “We’re hoping he makes it to the parade,” she said, adding that he already gave her his shillelagh, the staff carried by the grand marshal.
Tim Laube, president of the parade committee, said Ms. Conti is a huge asset to both the parade committee and community. “You would be hard-pressed to match her energy levels and what she brings to any group,” he said. “Donna is just great.”
He explained that, as is tradition, prior grand marshals met last year and voted to award Ms. Conti with the honor. They surprised her with the news back in November.
“It was hard to keep that a secret from her, but we did,” Mr. Laube said.
Ms. Conti and her husband, Danny, have two daughters, Shae, 25, and Bree, 24. A Westhampton Beach graduate, Ms. Conti has served as Quogue PTA president, coached varsity cheerleading, served as officer of the Westhampton Beach Athletic Booster Club for 15 years and ran the athletic concession stands.
As grand marshal, Ms. Conti gets to select the theme of this year’s parade and she’s selected “Dream Green.” She explained that it is her favorite color because it not only represents St. Patrick’s Day, but also Westhampton Beach athletics, as well as environmental issues.
The parade committee will host its third annual Texas Hold ‘em poker tournament at Agave’s on Mill Road in Westhampton Beach at 7 p.m. this Friday, January 31. The entry fee is $100, and anyone interested can sign up by calling Mr. Laube at (631) 560-6392.
This year the committee will also host its annual fundraiser at Agave’s on Saturday, March 8, a big change after hosting it at Casey’s, which closed its doors last year, for the past 20 years.
“They were so good to us over the years,” Mr. Laube said, of the staff at Casey’s.