Old Neighborhood Parade fundraiser to be held
BY: Catherine Miller | February 11, 2014
SOUTH BUFFALO - Plans are well underway for this year’s Valley Community Association’s [VCA] Old Neighborhood Parade. The parade this year is scheduled for March 15.
On Saturday, March 8, the VCA will be holding a fundraiser to offset the costs of the annual parade. From 6-10 pm enjoy live music by Crikwater, as glasses are raised to toast this year’s Grand Marshall, Jeremiah Hassett, and officially name all honorees for this year’s parade.
There are months of work and many expenses associated with the popular parade that brings people back to their roots in the Old First Ward neighborhood. Attending the pre-parade fundraiser is not only a great way to kick off your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but also helps to promote this annual traditional parade.
The second largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in WNY, the Old Neighborhood Parade pays homage to the immigrants and heritage that built this area. With strong Irish and union worker presence, the Old Neighborhood parade is the “working man’s” parade and retraces the steps of Buffalo’s original 1913 St. Patrick’s Day parade route.
Jeremiah Hassett has been nominated as this year’s Grand Marshall of the Old Neighborhood Parade by the VCA Board of Directors. Now in its eleventh year, the Grand Marshall nomination for the Old Neighborhood Parade is a lifetime achievement award of sorts in the South Buffalo community.
“I called Jeremiah to tell him that he was nominated to be Grand Marshall and, even though he is vacationing in Florida, he accepted the nomination and will be flying up for the parade,” stated Peg Overdorf, Executive Director of the Valley Community Association.
Jeremiah Hassett is more than deserving of this year’s nomination. Of Irish descent, Hassett is a native Old First Warder and a founder of the Police Emerald Society. Born on Tennessee Street, Hassett’s mother passed away when he was two years old, and he was raised at Father Baker’s Orphanage. He rose from his days there to work at the grain elevators and went on to become a policeman. MaryAnn Hassett, Jeremiah’s wife of over fifty years, is also from the Old First Ward.
As a member of the Police Emerald Society, Hassett assisted in the planning of the first parade in 1994 and has impacted many lives through his volunteerism throughout the years. A former coach of both football and baseball, Hassett has inspired many of his former players to seek employment in law enforcement. A member of the McCarthy Social Club and the Police Emerald Society, Hassett is also a continued year-round supporter of the Valley Community Association.
The March 8 event will not only honor Grand Marshall Jeremiah Hassett, but will also pay tribute to several departed VCA volunteers that have helped to nourish and promote the VCA in the past. Those wishing to pay tribute to the memories of Ginny Decker, Rita Deschamps, Gert Hofstetter and Kevin Wiles are invited to attend the fundraiser as these outstanding individuals will be honored for their past service.
Much work and effort go into the parade and the post-Hooley party that have become so popular in the WNY area. The pre-parade party is a great time to break out your green cowboy hat, grab your Irish sweater, and join friends a week early to show patronage for the Valley Community Association and their St. Patrick’s Day parade tradition.
The March 8 fundraiser will be held at the Valley Community Center at 93 Leddy Street from 6-10 pm. Tickets for the event are $20 and include live music, beer, wine, pop, snacks, and great company. Canned beer, corned beef and a 50/50 raffle will also be available.
Join your friends and family at the pre-parade party to support the parade that brings together the kin of South Buffalo for a great St. Patrick’s Day tradition.