St. Patrick’s Day Tradition Returns In South Amboy

SOUTH AMBOY – After a major storm forced the cancellation of last year’s event, South Amboy’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is set to return this year on Saturday, March 12.

The annual festivities, one of the city’s biggest and best-known events, began in 1976. The first parade, organized by local business owner Frank Connolly, was a modest affair. It included one bag piper, the South Amboy Police Department, the fire departments, the first aid squad and a few marchers who represented the Frank Connolly Association. Every year, the parade has grown bigger and more popular.


More than 1,500 people and 30 bands are expected to take part in this year’s parade, which kicks off at 2 p.m. from South Pine and Bordentown avenues. The route continues down Bordentown and Stevens avenues, then turns onto Main Street and ends on Broadway.

The marching bands scheduled to take part in this year’s parade include high school bands from Carteret, Dunellen, Hazlet, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, South River and Woodbridge; local school bands from South Amboy Elementary and Middle Schools; Col. D.B. Kelly Pipes & Drums, Staten Island A.O.H.; American Celts Pipes and Drums; Celtic Cross; Kearney Caledonia; NJ Transit Band and bands from Princeton and Monmouth universities.

The parade will be led by Grand Marshal Francis “Butch” Mulvey and Deputy Grand Marshal James E. Cleary. Mulvey, Cleary and Honorary Grand Marshal Joseph DeMarco were the guests of honor at the parade committee’s Grand Marshal’s Night in February.

Parade committee Chairperson Betty Sturgis selected Mulvey, a lifelong resident of South Amboy who grew up in Mechanicsville, attended St. Mary Elementary School, and is a graduate of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School in Perth Amboy.

A Vietnam-era veteran, Mulvey served as a Seabee in the U.S. Navy until 1968. After the service, he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Mechanicsville Hose Company where he held the offices of first and second lieutenant, captain, trustee, chief driver, secretary, and finally chief in 1984. Currently he holds the position of president with the company.

Mulvey is a member of the South Amboy Firemen’s Relief Association, the Exempt Firemen’s Association, the Central Jersey Fire Chiefs’ Association, The F.O.W., the American Legion, and the New Jersey State Firemen’s Police.

A communicant of St. Mary Church in South Amboy, Mulvey is the father of two children, Bryan, who resides in New Orleans, La. where he is a member of the New Orleans Police Department and Heather, a resident of South Amboy.

Deputy Grand Marshal, James E. Cleary, another lifelong resident of South Amboy, went to St. Mary’s Elementary School, attended Notre Dame, and then received a BS in Civil Engineering from NJIT. He was married to the late Geneva Locovitz Cleary who passed away in 2000, and is currently married to Barbara Cleary whom he met 40 years ago while attending college in Indiana.

Cleary is a registered professional engineer and professional land surveyor for over 30 years and is a Licensed Professional Planner and Certified Municipal Engineer. He has also served as Director of Engineering for the City of South Amboy from 1986 to 2008. In 2004 Jim was selected as a member of the NJ State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Since 2005 he serves as the Township Engineer and Director of Community Development for the Township of Old Bridge.

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