Jaffrey to host first St. Patrick's Day parade tradition

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
March 15. 2018 11:13PM


JAFFREY — Irishman Jimmy Quinn is bringing his adopted hometown a traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade Saturday.

The parade, down Main Street from St. Patrick Church to Blake Street, is set to start at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Quinn said Thursday he had hoped to start the parade earlier in the day but is giving room for the town’s traditional town meeting, which is also taking place that day.

The parade is to start, appropriately he said, at St. Patrick Church where parish priest Father Wilfred “Bill” Deschamps will open the event.

“He’s going to come out and bless the parade,” Quinn said. “That’s how they do it in Ireland the priest will bless the parade and then I will step up and say a few words.”

Quinn grew up on a farm in Donegal, Ireland, with six brothers and three sisters. In the late 1980s when he moved to New York City, he was surprised by how much Americans embraced St. Patrick’s Day and always attended the city’s annual parade.

“Come rain, hell or shine or two feet of snow they always had a parade,” Quinn said of the New Yorkers.

He remembers when he first moved to New York City and a Jamaican immigrant told him, “In America everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”

In 2013 Quinn moved to Jaffrey for the small town life and found a lot of his countrymen several generations into their American experience, he said.

Quinn said he was surprised the town didn’t have a parade and when he asked and dug into the history he learned the town had never had a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Quinn said he is changing that Saturday and going forward the town will have an annual parade.

Several Jaffrey businesses have backed the parade, he said, including Belletetes, Red’s, Atlas Fireworks and Hampsey & Grenier.


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