“The parade is back and the sun is out,” Mark Hontz, MC of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, announced March 18 in Newton.
After a three-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Newton Fire Department again sponsored the parade, which meandered up Spring Street.
“This and the holiday parade are greatly anticipated and loved by the extended Sussex County community as well as those who gladly travel to enjoy,” said Hontz, a partner in the Newton law firm Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Vandenberg, Hontz & Olenick. “We’re delighted about this parade’s return.”
Floats, bands, many firetrucks, veterans groups, dancers and those contending for the coveted Queen of the Fair worked their way from ThorLabs to Memory Park.
The grand marshal was Dan Hayek, who owns and operates Hayek’s Market on Mill Street in Newton with his wife, Denise. She and their children waved to parade-goers from atop the Newton Fire Department’s 1948 Mack Pumper.
“We’re thrilled to be out here and to have the parade back,” Dan Hayek said. “It’s just a great community event.”
Veronica Curto was on hand with her dog George. They marched in the parade with the Ridge and Valley Conservancy and Enjoy Your Dog Training. George was decked out in a velvet green leprechaun outfit complete with arms, legs and a hat.
“This is our first time at this parade,” Curto said. “There’s such great energy, and it’s a beautiful day.”
The Farmer’s Daughter, a restaurant on Spring Street that features food and other products grown in Sussex County, was selling giant pretzels and a variety of large cookies in front of the business.
“This may be the best pretzel I’ve ever had,” said Zach Samms, who came to Newton from Elizabeth to attend the parade with friends. “I never knew about this parade before. What a great celebration, and I love the leprechauns.”
Many people dressed as leprechauns bounced along the parade route, stopping to take selfies with eager fans, including Newton teen, Addie Lillo.
We’re thrilled to be out here and to have the parade back. It’s just a great community event.” - Dan Hayek, parade grand marshal