Northampton float takes top honors in St. Patrick’s Parade

  • A float built by members of the Northampton St. Patrick’s Association that won first prize in the religious category at the 66th annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade, Sunday, rests in a parking lot at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, Tuesday. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A float built by members of the Northampton St. Patrick’s Association that won first prize in the religious category at the 66th annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade, Sunday, rests in a parking lot at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, Tuesday. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

@JackSuntrup
Published: 3/21/2017 10:18:10 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A Northampton float won first prize in the religious category at Sunday’s 66th annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade.

The float, built by members of the Northampton St. Patrick’s Association, was modeled after a Claddagh ring — which features two hands holding a heart with a crown on top.

The heart symbolizes love, the crown represents loyalty, and the hands represent friendship. Its origin traces back to Claddaugh, Ireland, and was first produced in the 17th century.

The second-place religious float was the Ancient Order of the Hibernians Celtic Cross float, and third place was Jericho Bureau.

Brenda Ryan and her husband, Jim, spearheaded the construction, she said, which took three weeks. About a dozen members of the association pitched in, including Chris Powers and Jon Christenson, she said.

“I really want to thank everybody who helped out and everyone who marched,” Ryan said, adding that several others brought muffins and coffee before the parade, and others set up and prepared food for a reception afterward.

She also gave a shout-out to the staff at Look Memorial Park who let the association store the float in the park garage.

Contingents from Philadelphia to Connecticut and Northampton took part in the annual parade, which is considered one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States.

Ryan said the association has grown over the years and those of non-Irish heritage are welcome to join. They also encourage young people to participate to carry the association into the future.

In addition to the parade, the group also coordinates other events during the year, including the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.

Jack Suntrup can be reached at jsuntrup@gazettenet.com.


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