SOUTH AMBOY –The smell of corned beef and soda bread will soon be in the air and that can only mean one thing. It’s time for the city of South Amboy to start gearing up for its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
This year, the South Amboy Parade Committee has named James Downey, owner of the Landmark Tavern, to serve as grand marshal. Along with Downey, Middlesex County Freeholder Ronald Rios will serve as the parade’s honorary grand marshal.
Downey, known to many as “Jamie,” hails from Elizabeth. In 2000, Jamie and his dad, Joe Jr., purchased the Landmark Tavern. Since coming to town, Jamie continues a tradition that dates back to when he was a little boy, cooking corned beef with his dad at the Last Call Tavern in Elizabeth. Each year, on St. Patrick’s Day, Jamie dons a kelly green shirt and white sweater vest, and provides a free St. Patrick’s Day dinner to his loyal patrons.
While always making his place available for benefits and fundraisers for local charities and causes, Downey’s vision is for the Landmark to continue to be the town’s “meeting place” and to carry on with the spirit of hospitality and “giving back.”
Beginning his political career in 1982, Ronald G. Rios, has been a tireless public servant for the people of Middlesex County. His accomplishments include working with area fire departments, EMS, Local Police, Port Authority, Veterans Affairs, and the Parks Department to name a few. Rios currently serves as the Freeholder Deputy Director of Middlesex County.
A “special honored guest” attending this year’s parade is award-winning writer, producer, voice –over artist, and radio personality Bert Baron. Baron is currently the director of Creative Services for Greater Media’s WCTC and WMGQ radio, program director and brand manager at WCTC and on-air talent at WCTC and WDHA.
As tradition mandates, a special event to commemorate this year’s parade honorees, is set for Friday, Feb. 1 at the Ancient Order of Hibernians hall. The AOH is located on the corner of Second Street and Stevens Ave. in South Amboy. The festivities are scheduled to take place from 7 until 10 p.m. with food, beer, wine, soda, music, and a special appearance from the award winning Col. D.B. Kelly Pipes & Drums. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the AOH, Main Liquors, or the South Amboy Y.
This year’s St. Patty’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 9, and will step off at 2 p.m. The event, one of the city’s highlights each year, continues to be a success because of donations from local businesses, individuals, and corporations helping to cover the cost of the many terrific marching bands participating each year. Along with the bands, there are lots of beautifully decorated floats and thousands of marchers.
In addition to donations, the parade relies on several important fundraisers, “Tip-a-Pint Afternoon,” which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 17, from 3-7 p.m. at the Landmark Tavern, and “Tip-A-Pint Night” to be held on Wednesday, March 6, from 7-10 p.m. at the Munckee Bar, 113 S. Feltus Street in South Amboy. Admission for both is $20 and includes food, beer, wine, and soda. There will be no advance ticket sales for “Tip-A-Pint”events.
If you have a group interested in being a part of this great St. Patrick’s Day tradition or for additional information, visit the South Amboy St. Patrick’s Day Parade website at southamboyparade.com or contact the parade committee chairperson, Betty Sturgis, at email@example.com.