Now in its 45th year, the Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s day is much more than just a tradition. It’s a celebration of Irish spirit that grows richer  with each passing year and an event that is cherished by an abundance of people and held dear in their hearts. This year’s parade countdown is well underway and Main Street will be buzzing with the sounds of marching bands, bagpipes and floats on Sunday, March 3, when the parade steps off at 12:30 p.m.

BELMAR/LAKE COMO ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE 2019

While there is no uncertainty of the parade marching down Main Street each March celebrating all things Irish, the weather each year proves to be quite unpredictable. In years past the parade has stepped off on unseasonably warm days as well as days with frigid temps and snowflakes.

One of the things parade Chairman Chip Cavanagh is most looking forward to for the 2019 Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a day without any inclement weather.

“Hopefully a beautiful weather day so all the spectators can enjoy this beautiful parade that the parade committee has put together,” responded Cavanagh when asked what he is most looking forward to for this year’s parade.

As one of the largest and best attended parades in the state, annual paradegoers can look forward to another year of amazing memories.

“This year should be another great parade with plenty of pipe bands, floats and marching units,” shared Cavanagh.

Newcomers to the parade are always encouraged and welcomed as a good time is sure to be had by all. “The parade is great way to show some great Irish heritage and have some fun,” said Cavanagh.

When parade day rolls around, the early bird will indeed catch the worm. “Please come early to get seats to watch the parade, said Cavanagh. We are in the process of updating our website and Facebook page to list all the public parking lots and mass transit schedules for the day of the parade.”

GRAND AND DEPUTY GRAND MARSHAL 2019

The Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee recently announced that Michael Ryan, of Lake Como, will be this year’s Grand Marshal and Meg Neafsey, of Toms River, will be the Deputy Grand Marshal.

FUNDRAISER PROGRAM SCHEDULE 2019

If you find yourself anxiously awaiting Sunday, March 3, why not get into the spirit early by attending one of the Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade fundraisers.

On Sunday, Feb. 10, the February fundraisers will kick off at Marina Grille, 902 Highway 35, Belmar, from 2 to 6 p.m. For a donation of $15 guests can enjoy entertainment and a hot and cold buffet.

Boat House Bar & Grill, 1309 Main St., Belmar, is next on the fundraiser list on Sunday, Feb. 17. From 2 to 6 p.m. guests can enjoy entertainment and a hot and cold buffet for $15.

On Sunday, Feb. 24, the Friendly Sons of Shillelagh, 815 16th Ave.,Belmar, will conclude the February parade fundraisers. Those in attendance can enjoy entertainment and a hot and cold buffet from 2 to 6 p.m. with a $15 donation.

On Saturday, March 3, there will be an Investiture Mass held at St. Rose Church, 601 7th Ave., Belmar, at 10 a.m. to kick off the parade weekend. The Investiture Luncheon will immediately follow at Mike Doolan’s, Rte. 71, Spring Lake Heights, for a donation of $35.

STUDENT OF IRISH CULTURE SCHOLARSHIP

The Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has also recently announced the 2019 Student of Irish Culture Scholarship. There will be two scholarships of $500 each awarded to one boy and one girl currently enrolled or participating in a school or program for an Irish cultural activity.

According to the Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the scholarship is intended to help students with the expenses of schools, programs or instruction. It must be used to cover tuition at the school, instructor fees, toward the purchase of a musical instrument or the cost of costumes or other items required for competition.

Applications and materials [essay and letter of recommendation] must be received by Thursday, Feb. 28. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by Wednesday, March 20.

Access to the complete electronic application as well as the full applicant criteria is available on the Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade Official Facebook Page. Chosen recipients will receive their awards at the Investiture Luncheon.