By Cameron Albert
Beth Bermingham welcomed the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day the way she has for the last 16 years, with an afternoon celebration on Main Street in East Islip followed by an open house party at her home, just down the block.
There was plenty of bagpipes, alcohol, and over 100 pounds of corned beef at the Bermingham household for the traditional Irish Holiday.
But Bermingham was one of the few Long Islanders who were able to enjoy their town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parades. The March 1st event happened soon enough to avoid the incoming threat of COVID-19, something that caused most other towns to shut down their celebrations.
“My husband is from Dublin and has a large Irish network in Long Island and the parades are very important to them and their culture,” Bermingham said. “I do feel bad for the other towns, these are huge celebrations and it was a shame they were cancelled.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned all gatherings of more than 500 people on Thursday March 12th, just days before towns like Farmingdale and Bayshore hosted their parades.
“We canceled before it was mandated, out of concern for the community,” a spokesperson from the Brentwood Parade Committee said.
The town of Rockville Centre was set to hold their 24th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 21st before announcing its cancelation nine days prior.
“It was the right decision to postpone but still was a punch to the gut,” Rockville Centre Parade committee member Mike Cosgrove said. “Reality now is that any disappointment is far down on the radar to what society is grappling with now.”
The Rockville Centre Parade committee, however, was able to complete its fundraisers prior to the COVID-19 close-ups, raising money for the Rockville Centre Breast Cancer Coalition, Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund and the Holy Family School for the Deaf.
“What makes the Rockville Centre Parade different and unique from other Parades is that part of the Parade’s mission is to raise money for charity,” Cosgrove said. “We are confident that the Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Parade will march again. As everyone combats this virus the following Irish Blessing is appropriate.”