Chief organizer of Cutchogue’s St. Patrick’s Day parade Joe Corso says the weather is always an unknown factor for the event, but this year he has no worries – it will be nearing 60 degrees and sunny when parade marchers step off from Eugene’s Road and head west toward the village green at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 12.
Corso, who emcees the parade, anxiously awaits the first marchers. He’s worked hard planning the parade, arranging for various civic and social groups to join the festivities, and attending to the myriad details it takes for the event to go smoothly.
He’s quick to credit Paul Romanelli, who oversees the step off, and committees that help him, but admits to some eleventh-hour nerves. There are always marchers who show up at the last minute on parade day. “They just go to the end of the line,” he says, chuckling.
And, of course, the weather can cause some last-minute stress, though the parade is rain or shine, which was reinforced last year after soggy skies were unable to put a damper on the day.
When he sees the ROTC color guard approaching the reviewing stand, Corso thinks, “Here it is. We’re doing it again. We’re golden.” It’s his favorite moment of the parade.
The event, co-sponsored by the North Fork Chamber of Commerce and the Cutchogue Fire Department, has grown from the original 22 groups that marched in the first parade. Corso expects it will take about an hour and a half for the 50 or so groups marching this year to cross in front of him at the end of the route.
Corso and the parade committee choose a grand marshal by looking for someone who has made a big impact on the community. This year’s Grand Marshal is Monsignor Joseph Staudt who is the pastor of both Sacred Heart Parish in Cutchogue and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mattituck, as well as the parish administrator of Our Lady Of Ostrabrama in Cutchogue.
Corso speaks warmly about the monsignor. “He’s a down to earth kind of guy. He doesn’t read from a script during his sermons — he definitely speaks from the heart,” he said. “He’s well loved by his parishioners and the community.”
Asked if it was fair to say everyone in Cutchogue is Irish on parade day, Corso enthusiastically replied, “I’m Italian. There’s not a drop of Irish blood in me, but I’ll be Irish on Saturday.”