St. Paddy’s Day celebrated in Port Jervis

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Al Gessner, right, and his family before the Port Jervis parade

PORT JERVIS – Hundreds turned for Port Jervis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Blarney Blast on Sunday afternoon, March 6.  The recent cold snap gave way to a 65-degree sunny afternoon for marchers, bands, units, bagpipers, Irish dancers and spectators to enjoy the event.

The parade featured kilt-adorned bagpipers, bands, soldiers from West Point, community volunteers dressed in green, and even two brown shaggy sheep.  Fire, police and EMS units, and others, tossed candy to children seated curbside.

Hosted by the Port Jervis Tourism Board, everyone was urged to come out and bring their ‘glitter, shimmer, and green.’

Trophies were presented in various categories. The winners were: Best Presentatio

n First Responders: Matamoras Fire Department; Most Irish Spirit:  Brownie Troop 00703; Best Marching Unit:  Westchester County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes and Drums; Best St. Patrick’s Day Float:  VFW Post 161; and Grand Marshal’s Choice Trophy – Michael McCarthy Memorial Award:  Sheahan Gromley School of Irish Dance.

Grand Marshal Al Gessner enjoyed everything about the day and is appreciative for the honor.

Gessner and his wife Patty have a strong Irish background and celebrate their heritage in many ways.  The two, and their four children and eight grandchildren, love music and play a wide range of musical instruments.  Al has operated Al’s Music Shop on Fowler Street for many decades. Both are in The Broome Street Traveling All-Star Band, which Al founded. They have performed weekly for the past 13-years with “The Parting Glass”, an Irish band.

“The parting glass is a term for saying good-bye at the end of the night, when everyone goes home and we thank everyone for being there,” Gessner said. “That’s why the band was named The Parting Glass.  It’s the last song we sing each time we perform.”

How did Al enjoy Sunday’s Port Jervis’ St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and being the event’s Grand Marshal?

“The sun was out.  I enjoyed seeing so many people, and it was just a great day.”