Irish reign in Jim Thorpe
Six-year-old Brooklynne Winger, left, and 7-year-old Fiona Winger, both from Palmerton, were just two of the hundreds of kids anxiously awaiting the start of the 16th Annual Carbon County St. Patrick's Day Parade in Jim Thorpe on Sunday.
On Sunday, Jim Thorpe once again bustled with activity and the distinctive sound of bagpipes as thousands of spectators lined the route of the 16th Annual Carbon County St. Patrick's Day Parade as it made its way down Broadway.
Celebrating St. Patrick and Irish heritage, the parade was sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Alec Campbell Division 1 of Carbon County and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernian Molly Maguire Division 1 of Carbon County.
While the crowd of spectators downtown at the end of the parade was near overflow capacity, spectators were out in large numbers all along the entire length of the parade.
Farther up Broadway and before reaching the downtown area, the marchers made two traditional stops at Immaculate Conception Church and at the former Carbon County Prison.
This year's Grand Marshal, Margaret Susan "Peggy Sue" O'Donnell, and her aides moved from the parade to the porch of The Inn at Jim Thorpe to join the thousands of spectators.
Peggy Sue is a lifelong resident of Jim Thorpe, where she attended Immaculate Conception Grade School and is a 1977 graduate of Marian Catholic High School after which she attended Kutztown University where she studied special education.
For the past 28 years she has been employed by UPS as a package car driver where she has delivered packages to all of the businesses on Broadway, Race Street, and throughout Jim Thorpe.
She is a charter member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Molly Maguire division in Carbon County where she served as LAOH president from 2008 to 2009 and has also held other officer positions.
Aides to the Grand Marshal were Francis "Dubber" O'Donnell, Michael "Doc" O'Donnell, Jean O'Donnell, and Joan O'Donnell.
The three-division 2013 parade included 10 bagpipe bands, three high school/alumni bands, six AOH and LAOH groups, a total of 769 marchers and 93 vehicles.
The bands appearing were the Coel Mor Pipe & Drums; Greater Scranton Black Diamonds; Pocono Regional Pipe & Drums; Hawk Mt. Highlanders; Ceol Neamh Pipe & Drums; Brian Boru Pipe & Drums; Quittapahilla Highlanders Pipe Band; Lochiel Emerald Society Pipe & Drums; Nae Breeks Pipe & Drums; and Celtic United Pipe & Drums;
The high school/alumni bands were the Jim Thorpe Area High School Band; Blue Eagles Alumni Band; and Emmaus Sentinels Alumni Corps.
In addition to the bands, also appearing in the parade were 10 fire companies and emergency service organizations from nine municipalities of Carbon County; six military groups; three dance groups; 10 units of government representing state, county, and local government; six AOH/LAOH divisions representing Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, Lycoming, and Delaware counties; and 27 other groups and organizations.
One organization that is a yearly favorite with the crowd made sure that no one nodded off during the parade.
Adding to the overall excitement of the day, the 81st Pennsylvania Company K, Civil War Re-enactors, marching in Division 2, literally had parade spectators jumping each time that they fired off a volley with their Civil War era rifles.
The AOH expressed their thanks and appreciation to all of the sponsors and everyone else who helped make the parade possible.