A little over 10 years ago, Jim Logue had a brainstorm: Hey, kids, let’s have a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Burlington County.
Logue didn’t know what he was getting himself into. He enlisted the aid of a friend, Scott Mahoney, who didn’t have a clue, either.
That first year, it was a pretty short parade, with just 17 units. When the 10th anniversary parade steps off tomorrow in downtown Mount Holly, in the neighborhood of 60 units will march down High Street, including pipe bands, local paddy rock bands on flatbeds, Irish dance schools, AOH divisions, and more.
Every year, of course, there’s a grand marshal. This year will be two: the two determined young fellas who co-founded the parade.
“Jim and l and I were both members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Tommy Maguire Division,” says Mahoney. “It was my first experience with the AOH. Right away, Jim was really into the idea of having a parade. I just went along for the ride.”
Logue and Mahoney have been instrumental in picking grand marshals year after year. Logue says the parade committee had often suggested that the two consider accepting the honor, but Logue always declined. Just running the parade was a massive undertaking, months in the planning. “We were just trying to keep things together. It never crossed our minds.”
Mahoney laughs when he recalls how the honor came their way. In the beginning, when they weren’t sure whether the parade would take off, they kidded other people on the committee about it. “We had kind of joked around about it. We said, if we make it to 10 years, we’ll be grand marshals. Once we mentioned it, people remembered.”
Logue says they kind of knew what was going on. Still, he says, being named grand marshal is a great honor—particularly when he thinks of all the grand marshals who went before.
His partner concurs.
“We have had some genuinely good people leading our parade. Being selected as grand marshal is something I’ll always remember, for sure.”
Typically, Logue emcees the parade from a platform at the bottom of the parade route. This year, he’s just going to sit back, take it all in—and try to relax.
“I’ll still be thinking: Is everything under control? The last few years, we got more and more people involved in the parade, and I know it’s gonna be even smoother this year. But still, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking: Is this gonna happen?”