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Annual St. Patrick’s Day parade will have two grand marshals

The 15th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off Saturday, March 9, at 2 p.m. hosted by the North Fork Chamber of Commerce and Cutchogue Fire Department. 

The parade will kick off from the stoplight at Cox Lane, then head west on Route 25, ending at Cases Lane in Cutchogue. Main Road will be closed to traffic from 2 to 3 p.m. 

This year, two Cutchogue locals will serve as grand marshals for the parade: longtime Chamber of Commerce member Linda Carlson and Cutchogue Fire Department member Jim Fogarty Sr. 

“This might be the third time we have co-grand marshals,” parade chairman and chamber member Joe Corso said. “There are so many people that are deserving of this — they don’t just have to be Irish.”

But Mr. Fogarty Sr. does have Irish blood: he said both his Irish parents met in the hamlet.

“I think it’s a great honor,” he said. “This is a big day, being of Irish heritage.” 

The Cutchogue native, a fire department member for 58 years and counting and a volunteer with Sacred Heart Parish, had first suggested that Mr. Corso select his son James Fogarty Jr., as grand marshal. The younger Fogarty, a current department member, served as fire chief when the parade started in 2004.

A few weeks later, he said, Mr. Corso approached him with the good news that he was named one of this year’s grand marshals.

Mr. Fogarty Sr. served as a fire chief in 1979 and 1980. For him, marching in a parade is nothing new; as captain of a team with the Firefighting Drill Association of N.Y., he traveled throughout the state for drill sessions.

When the Cutchogue Fire Department was established in 1928, his father, William J. Fogarty, was a charter member. Mr. Fogarty Sr. also said his granddaughter Lily Fogarty is a current junior member of the department. 

Representatives from all four North Fork branches of BNB Bank began marching in the parade after an initial push from Ms. Carlson. She’s been manager of the Southold branch since 2002.

“My staff is always excited about it; they jump right in,” she said. “Last year we had about 18 people from the bank in the parade.”

The Southold native served as Chamber of Commerce treasurer for eight years before stepping down in September. She’s been a chamber member for roughly 15 years.

“Linda has been one of the people on our board that’s always been involved in everything we do,” Mr. Corso said. “She’s one of those people that steps up and does the heavy lifting.”

Ms. Carlson, a former member of the North Fork Promotional Council, said all of Southold Town attends the parade —and she’s looking forward to it.

“I like any kind of community that gets together and celebrates anything, especially in this day and age,” she said. “The kids get so excited, the [bank] customers get so excited.”

All local civic groups and fire departments are encouraged to participate and should contact North Fork Chamber of Commerce at 631-765-3161.

“In 15 years, it’s really taken on a life of its own on the North Fork,” Mr. Corso said.

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Photo caption: Longtime Chamber of Commerce member Linda Carlson and Cutchogue Fire Department member Jim Fogarty Sr. will serve as the grand marshals. (Kate Nalepinski photos)

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