March 6th, 2016 at 12:30pm
In 1974, for the first time, men and women of the Jersey Shore joined together and marched up Main Street in honor of Saint Patrick. Formed and led by the newly formed Jerry Lynch Club, the parade was intended to be a showcase for the “Irish Riviera.” Entertained by marchers, bands, and a lot of fire engines, crowds lined the streets early on in this parade.
Within four years the parade was developing rapidly and attractive statewide attention. Marchers were numbering close to a thousand and the crowds kept growing. By 1981, the railroad added special trains on parade day to accommodate the ever-growing number of spectators from North Jersey and New York.
By 1985, the parade had come into its own and as such, needed its own committee. Led up to this point by members of the Jerry Lynch Club, a committee was formed to deal solely with the job of putting a parade on the street. The executive committee, as it has been since its inception and remains today, is led by chairman, Dave Stanley. The group, at the time, boasts 25 members. The following year, another tradition is born with the investiture Mass at St. Rose R.C. Church and parade spectators neared 80,000!
1992 saw the beautiful St. Patrick parade banner for the first time at the head of the parade. It now leads the parade every year. By 1993, more than 4000 marchers, 35 bands and 20 floats took to Main Street . However, within the past 10 years, those numbers grew to over 5,500 marchers and more than 40 bands. Roughly 200,000 spectators revel in what the parade has to offer today. After a dream and a plan by a young Jerry Lynch Association, the Belmar-South Belmar Saint Patrick’s Day Parade has grown into one of the largest and best attended parades in the State.