Queens and Gays in Queens for St. Patricks Celebration

When Sunnyside and Woodside’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade steps off Sunday, the 2,000 spectators expected at the event will see not only bagpipers and Irish dancers, but Chinese kite-flyers, Mexican dancers and a plethora of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups.

About 80 groups, some with 100 members, will march down Skillman and Woodside avenues for the St. Pat’s for All Parade, an all-inclusive parade that Co-Chairman Brendan Fay began after gay and lesbian Irish groups were banned from marching in Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1999. This will be the parade’s 12th year.

“What’s very moving is the community activism and hope and commitment that made this inclusive parade possible… and now it’s another traditional parade in this city,” said parade co-chair Brendan Fay. – “It’s the most progressive parade in New York; we welcome everybody,” added parade co-chair Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy.

“I’m very proud that in Queens, in Sunnyside, this Sunday a most unique parade will take place,” Fay said.

The parade assembles at 1 p.m. and kicks off at 2 p.m. Beginning at 47th Street and Skillman Avenue, the parade will travel east until 56th Street. From there, the parade will move north on 56th Street one block before turning east on Woodside Avenue and ending at 58th Street.

This year’s grand marshals include Patricia Lewsley, the Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, and Brig. Gen. Jim Cullen, who acted as an adviser to President Barack Obama on matters of human rights.

“This is a coming home for Jim,” Fay said. “Jim grew up in Sunnyside.”

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