They’re known as the mayors of downtown Southold, the two women who organize the annual Fourth of July parade and make sure American flags line Main Road in the summer and Christmas trees light up the sidewalks in December.
But those are just side concerns. Carol Scott, whose family has operated Southold Pharmacy for 50 years, is the proprietor of Bath and Linens/Carol’s Kids Corner of Southold. She’s right next door to the real estate office bearing Joan Tyrer’s name.
It’s no secret in the business community that the two are sisters, but few are aware that while growing up in Queens they were known as the Flanagan girls.
Until Monday, Joe Corso, chairman of the Cutchogue St. Patrick’s Day parade committee, wasn’t aware of their Irish heritage. But that’s not why Ms. Scott and Ms. Tyrer will ride at the head of the March 9 parade down Route 25. They share the honor of being this year’s parade grand marshals not because of their name, but in recognition of their volunteer work and years of civic involvement.
“This was not a difficult choice,” said Mr. Corso, a past president of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce, which partners with the Cutchogue Fire Department in putting on the parade. “They’re dedicated to the community, not just their businesses, and that’s what we always look for.”
The sisters said they were pleasantly surprised to be chosen.
“I asked Joe, ‘Did anybody object?’ ” Ms. Tyrer said. No one did.
In 1995, the sisters established the Southold Village Merchant’s organization, which launched the Christmas tree program. Three years later they organized the first July 4th parade with the help of Carol’s husband, Don Scott, who founded Southold Pharmacy in 1963 and who died in October at age 84. That effort continues with help from Ms. Scott’s daughter, Paulette Ofrias, and pharmacy manager Brian Walker.
In 2002, the sisters worked with the North Fork Chamber and residents to obtain and display the 120 American flags that fly throughout the summer.
“This is a community effort,” said Ms. Scott.
The parade grand marshals said they had little exposure to Irish culture in their youth.
“We grew up thinking that our grandfather who lived with us was English,” Ms. Scott, the younger of the two. “Only later did we discover that he was actually Irish.”
As soon as they got word that they’d be on the street March 9, the sisters rushed out to buy green scarves. The parade committee will provide the sashes identifying them as grand marshals.
“Our parents would get a big kick out of this, Ms. Scott said.
“Our kids even more so,” her sister added.
The parade begins at 2 p.m. with the line of march moving west from Cox Lane, through the intersection with New Suffolk Road ending at Cases Lane by Cutchogue New Suffolk Library. That section of Main Road will be closed from 2 to 3 p.m.
Mr. Corso said he’s sometimes asked why two Italian-Americans, himself and Suffolk Security owner Paul Romanelli, are the chief organizers of such an Irish event.
“It really came down to wanting to do something for Cutchogue,” said Mr. Corso, who lives in the hamlet and whose business, the Peconic Retreat adult home, is just steps from Main Road. Then with a grin he added, “We do it because we want the Irish people to have as much fun as they can without having to worry about the details.”