It’s here, folks, the weekend some of us have been anticipating will pop the hard, cold bubble of winter. The Montauk Friends of Erin will be your hosts for the St. Patrick’s Day parade weekend, which starts tomorrow with a lunch to honor its grand marshal, Paul Monte of Gurney’s Inn.
Reservations for the lunch, which will take place at Gurney’s from noon to 3 p.m., have been requested and can be made by calling John Behan of the grand marshal committee. The cost is $50 per person, payable at the door.
On Saturday, the Friends will host a cocktail party from 4 to 8 p.m. at Gurney’s. Tickets cost $60 in advance or $75 at the door. There will be a buffet, open bar, and music by Billy and the Barfights. Tickets, which can be purchased in advance for $60 at the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and Becker’s Home Center in Montauk, or at Atlantic Wines and Liquors in Amagansett, will cost $75 at the door.
At the party, the winners of the Friends’ Pot of Gold raffle will be drawn. You do not need to be present to win. Tickets cost $100 apiece and can be bought right up until the time of the drawing. The first-place prize is $10,000, second is $1,000, and there are two third-place prizes of $500 each. Only 350 tickets will be sold. Checks can be made payable to the Montauk Friends of Erin. Tickets can also be purchased by credit card or PayPal through the group’s website at montaukfriendsoferin.org.
The parade starts near the Montauk Firehouse at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and winds down Main Street to the Montauk I.G.A., where it will end about two hours later. Kathy Keller, a member of the Friends of Erin Ladies Auxiliary, was forming the parade lineup last weekend. She said she had at least 63 groups participating, including marching bands, whimsical floats, and fire departments from across Long Island.
Her main concern was keeping the fire departments apart from the musical floats. “We don’t want someone to hit their siren while a band is playing close to them,” she said.
Before the start of the parade, the Montauk Chamber of Commerce will be selling hot soup in commemorative cups in front of the chamber building, across the street from the viewing stands. A hot dose to warm you will cost $10.
Police will flood the hamlet, said Lt. Chris Hatch of the East Hampton Town Police Department, who is the Montauk precinct commander. He said at least 150 officers from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Long Island Rail Road, and the East Hampton Town Police Department, among others, will be on duty.
In an initiative to prevent drunken driving, police will impose zero alcohol tolerance this year, regardless of age, Lieutenant Hatch said, adding that this year the M.T.A. and the L.I.R.R. have responded particularly well to town police requests for help.
Police will be manning the three trains scheduled to arrive before the parade, at 8:10 and 10:10 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. The L.I.R.R. may add additional trains to pick up passengers after the parade.