Now in its 23rd year, the Bayport-Blue Point St. Patrick's Day parade is one of the biggest parades on Long Island, with thousands attending to enjoy the many bag pipe bands and dozens of other groups that take to the street.
As experienced parade goers know, there are some tips and tricks for ensuring a fun day. So Patch corralled some readers to share insider expertise and offer up this handy guide for newbies and for those who might have not attended the parade in recent years.
Parade Kickoff: Sunday, March 10, at 11:30 a.m. Snedecor Avenue/Montauk Highway. Route is eastbound and ends at Blue Point Avenue in Blue Point.
1. Dress Warm. Bring a blanket or two or three. Say yes to the knit caps, the mittens and winter boots. Some years it's been magically warm but most years there's still a nip in the air and a few beers can only warm the human body so much.
2. Bring a chair or two. This is especially true for families as children tend to get cranky sitting on cold pavement and concrete for hours. Having them sit on your lap is also a huge benefit body heat wise and with the blanket you're all set.
3. Get to the parade route early. Traffic in the hamlets of Bayport and Blue Point is heavy starting about 6 a.m. between groups meeting up, organizers getting together, and the must-do bagel runs by everyone within 30 miles it seems. A good safe bet is to get into town, find a legal parking place, stake your spot by 11 a.m. and then enjoy that big coffee and bagel. Also hit the bathrooms before leaving home.
4. This year's parade is honoring the legacy and life of Bayport-Blue Point teacher and coach Doug Monsell who passed away last year. Monsell is the grand marshal and there are commemorative t-shirts being sold marking St. Pat's Day as "Monsell Day" with funds benefitting the high school business club. Swing into town Friday and you can get yours at the high school store, or State Farm Insurance on the corner of Gillette Avenue and Montauk Highway.
5. In addition to chairs and blankets, bring a garbage bag so you can take your empty bottles, cans, food containers, napkins, plastic utensils, etc. with you and make cleanup a lot easier for organizers after the parade.
Finally: Take pictures and video, lots of pictures and video and share them on the Patch. You can easily upload them to our Pics & Clips page or email them to the editor: email@example.com. Just remember to provide photo credit and names where necessary.
After the parade every local bar and tavern typically offers up traditional Irish fare from the legendary Cavanaugh's on Blue Point Avenue, to Sage Cafe at the intersection of Nicolls Road and Montauk Highway to BlackBird's Grille in Sayville at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Montauk Highway. All offer a warm inviting place with great food and service.