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Home Edison Sentinel Edison News Grand marshal of Woodbridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade has close connection to Ireland

Grand marshal of Woodbridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade has close connection to Ireland

WOODBRIDGE — Joan Dias will lead more than 80 marching bands, floats, Irish step dancers, bagpipers and organizations as she serves as grand marshal of the 45th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The parade kicks off at Woodbridge High School at 1:30 p.m. March 11.

“It’s a big honor to represent the American Irish Association of Woodbridge, where I have been a member for more than 30 years,” Dias said.

The American Irish Association of Woodbridge is an Irish civic and social organization, which has been around for 51 years.

Along with Dias, Dan Harris will serve as the Irishman of the Year, Cindy Jacovinich is the Irishwoman of the Year, Julia Sinatra is Ms. American Irish and Erin Cahill is Lady in Waiting.

Dias said her grandparents, Patrick and Ellen Scannells, were from Limerick, Ireland.

“When I was a kid, my family was members of the Hibernian Club in Perth Amboy,” she said. “I would sell boutonnieres and work coat check at the dances. That’s where I started and look at me today.”

Dias said the American Irish Association, which has close to 400 members, works hard to put together the parade every year.

The parade’s chairperson and co-chair are Karen Devlin and Laura Jacobs, respectively.

“We have a tremendous club. We do a lot of community service from collecting donations for the veterans to building ramps for Tooling Around the Township,” Dias said. “The mayor [John E. McCormac] always says Woodbridge is the best town around and I always say our club is the best club around.”

Tooling Around the Township is a program in Woodbridge that organizes teams of local volunteers to make home repairs for senior citizens, disabled and low-income residents.

The association and honoree ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. March 11 at Woodbridge Town Hall, followed by the Flag Raising Ceremony.

The parade kicks off at Woodbridge High School and ends at Woodbridge Town Hall on Main Street.

For more information email woodbridgeirishparade@gmail.com.