Pawling residents got an early start on festivities this year with “The World’s Shortest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade,” held on Saturday, February 23. That morning, everyone was Irish in spirit if not inheritance as a small procession made its way down Broad Street before a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers. Organized by a group of local residents, the parade has become a tradition in Pawling. This year marks the third time that the event has been held.
“The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” was devised by a group of locals who were brainstorming a way to bring the annual March festivity to the village. “My friend John Hughes and I were actually having a beer one day,” explains Pawling booster Kevin O’Connell. “And we thought ‘why doesn’t Pawling have a parade?’ It’s just been growing ever since.”
On the morning of February 23, parade participants and onlookers gathered outside of O’Connor’s Public House, an establishment that has enthusiastically offered its support for the festivities. Residents lined Broad Street, and customers from Sunflour Bakery came outside to join in the fun. Soon, the sound of bagpipes and cheers from the crowd filled the air.
This year, the merriment included participants from several local organizations. Presided over by Grand Marshall Bob Sherlach, the parade saw students from Pawling Karate, local dignitaries, and an engine from the Pawling Fire Department all join in the pageant. The procession was led by members of the Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Pipe Band, who provided authentic pipe and drum music.
While the moniker of “World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade” is not recognized in an official capacity, Pawling’s celebration can certainly lay claim to the title in the surrounding area. The Village of Monroe, located in nearby Orange County, is boasting its own shortened St. Patrick’s Day parade to be held on Saturday, March 16. According to 101.5 WPDH, Monroe’s incarnation of “World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade” will span 306 feet. Pawling’s parade, however, only covers 223 feet, spanning from the corner of Elm Street and ending at the intersection with Charles Colman Boulevard.
Event organizer and owner of Pawling Family Quick Stop Henry Schaber emphasizes that “The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” is performed each year in a spirit of fun and community involvement. “We try to keep it unofficial, and every year it just keeps getting better and better,” says Schaber. “Everyone enjoyed themselves, and the businesses in the Village made some money; that’s what counts.”