By Alberto Gilman
Hundreds of residents from the hamlet of Wallkill, surrounding towns and visitors lined Bona Ventura Avenue and varying streets as they watched floats, marching bands, fire engines and other local groups march as they celebrated the 37th Wallkill St. Patrick’s Parade.
Despite the 30 degree weather in the early part of the morning and afternoon, families and friends with their dogs set up their watching spots with blankets and chairs while enjoying food, drinks and laughs. Souvenirs such as hats and flags were also available for purchase during the parade celebration.
Braving the cold temperatures during the afternoon were Grace Ross and Gwen Saunders, members of the Wallkill St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, who helped direct residents and members of the various floats and parade groups to their places. Despite the cold, both were in good spirits and looked forward to the parade making its way into town. Both women have served on the parade committee for the past 30 years. “It [the parade] gets bigger and bigger,” said Ross. “Every year it gets bigger,” said Saunders.
Saunders’ nephew, a professional firefighter from the New Paltz area, would be driving a 1947 Mack fire engine in the parade.
Newly appointed Grand Marshall Joanne Warren also shared her thoughts on the celebration of the parade here in Wallkill. “It’s just a good day for Wallkill even though it’s cold. It’s good to get people in the town. We love it,” said Warren. “I love the community feel. I love how the community comes together with floats.”
While waiting on the Ectomobile (Ecto-1), Hudson Valley Ghostbusters members Jason Oehl and Steve Sciglimpaglia prepared their gear and waited for the parade to begin. The Hudson Valley Ghostbusters is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
“We do all kinds of events and venues around the area, all throughout the Hudson Valley. We raise money for different charities along the way,” said Oehl. “This is our second time at this parade, we were here last year. We love seeing the people, you know, their faces light up.”
The group has also made special appearances at New York Comic Con and other large parades and events. “It’s a lot of fun to raise money for charity. Enjoy the parade because it’s supposed to be very, very nice,” said Sciglimpaglia.
Wallkill Youth Lacrosse parent Kristen Thomas shared prior to the parade that a fond memory for her, as she has grown up in the area, was when her husband and she brought their two sons to last year’s parade for the first time as a family. “It’s a wonderful day for our community. It’s nice to spend the day together off the field,” said Thomas. “I’m just thrilled and so full of gratitude to be able to spend this day together.”
Over the last few years, the Wallkill community had to put the parade on hold as they made their way through the COVID pandemic. Events such as the parade were not postponed or canceled until given the approval to be hosted again, which were able to start back up again in full force in 2022.
As the parade made its way down Bona Ventura, float riders would toss out candy and other treats to the kids along the way and neighbors would wave and say hello to each other along the way.
The parade consisted of three main divisions which are listed below and included a variety of fire companies, local business and organizations and other community groups from the area:
Division 1 - Town of Shawangunk Police Car , Color Guard – Alan Covert, Ulster Ancient Order of Hibernians, Grand Marshal Joanne Warren, Wallkill St. Patricks Parade Committee, Shawangunk Town Board Amthor Welding Service, the Amerscots band, Vision of Wallkill, Hudson Valley St. Baldrick’s,
Wallkill Valley Federal Savings & Loan, Town of Shawangunk Environmental Council,
Committee to Elect Mike Kavanagh, Orange County Fire Fighters Bagpipe Band, Wallkill Fire Department, Broken Hose Truck, Wallkill Nursery School, Wallkill Youth Lacrosse, Southern Ulster Futbol Club (SUFC), Nicoli Realty, Highway Department Town Loader, Wallkill Volunteer Ambulance, Professional Musicians of Orange County, Plattekill Fire Department, Town of Shawangunk Democrats, New Hurley Reformed Church, Rotary Club - Southern Ulster, Coldenham Fife N’ Drum, Federated Sportsmen Clubs of Ulster Co., Girl Scout Troop 00183, Girl Scout Troop 60078/60037 and additional troops.
Division 2 - Firefighter McPadden Pipes & Drums Band, Modena Fire Department, Modena Ladies Auxiliary, Wallkill Lion’s Club, Wallkill Leo’s Club, Most Precious Blood School, Rough Riders Fife & Drum Corp., Winona Lake Engine Co. #2, Sheahan Gorrmley School of Irish Dance, Pat’s Towing, Plattekill Cub Scout Pack 95, Plattekill Boy Scouts - Troop 195, Walden Boy Scouts – Troop 33/Troop 32, Boy Scout Troop 10, Maybrook Troop 236/195 Boy Scout Band and other troops, New Paltz Fire Department, Wallkill Area Little League, Santini Landscape, Walden Savings Bank, YMCA Camp Robbins/Club Kid, Main Care, Argenio Brothers-Wallkill Youth Football/Cheer, Julian’s Auto Repair, Ron Degroodt Paving, Tappen Zee Bridgeman, Clintondale Fire Department, Clintondale Ladies Auxiliary, Dawes Septic & Repair, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Macleod’s Of Cornwall band, Cragsmoor Fire Department, Third & Company Lake Side, Orange Blossoms 124th NYSV, Amthor Welding Service Inc, Tori Carney six wheeler and Anthony’s Tree Service.
Division 3 - Hudson Highlands Pipe Band, Shawangunk Fire Department, the Hudson Valley Ghostbusters, Maybrook Landscaping, the Wallkill Reformed Church, the Valley Central Marching Band, Walker Valley Fire Department, Gardiner Fire Department, Sprucegate Farm & Blueline Mechanical HV, Humane Society of Walden, several riders on horseback, OC 4-H The Ramblers and the North Wind Horse Farm/Trailblazers 4-H.