Top o’ parade weekend to you

2010 Grand Marshal Hugh Dugan gets the crowd going during the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

With the Irish Tricolor flag waving across Broadway, green lights and paper shamrocks bedecking borough windows, not to mention the tent back up on the deck at the Molly Maguire, it can mean only one thing – it’s St. Patty’s Day parade weekend in Jim Thorpe.

While Sunday marks the 15th St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jim Thorpe, there are festivities all weekend long.

The Barley Boys will take the stage at the Mauch Chunk Opera House tonight at 8. Saturday night Noel V. Ginnity and Taylor’s Irish Cabaret, will entertain goers with traditional Irish songs, dance, as well as comedy.

One of my favorite events of parade weekend has always been the Hibernian Mass at Immaculate Conception Church on Saturday afternoon.

During the tenure of the previous pastor, Monsignor John Chizmar, the Mass was especially touching for those with the blood of the old sod flowing through their veins. The sashed Hibernians would process into the church adorned with shamrocks and green carnations to traditional Irish songs as well as hymns such as Our Lady of Knock. Small loaves of Irish Soda Bread were given out after communion and the recessional was always When Irish Eyes are Smiling.

Under the current pastor, the Reverend James Ward, however, some of those touches including the beloved recessional have gone by the wayside in favor of more religious hymns. Still it wouldn’t be parade weekend for this writer without the Hibernian Mass.

The parade kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. back at the church with a blessing, and then a stop at the old jail to lay a wreath in memory of the Molly Maguires hung there in 1877, before heading down Broadway. Grand Marshal for the 2012 parade is Charles ‘Chuck’ Thamarus.

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