About the Parade
The parade was originally conceived before the A.O.H. was formed. Noel Behan and Ron Sheehan had a discussion at a Bach and Handel Chorale Fundraiser when Noel asked "why don't you have a town St. Patrick's Day Parade in Jim Thorpe?" Ron's reply was "because there is no Irish organization to organize one". Later, with the help of Walter Boyle, in 1996, the Carbon County Ancient Order of Hibernians was formed. In 1997 A.O.H President asked A.O.H. Treasurer Ron Sheehan to serve as the first parade chairman. In 1998 the 1st Annual Carbon County St. Patrick's Day Parade was held.
Ron Sheehan served as Parade Chairman from 1998-2004 (the first seven years) and now serves on the Parade Committee as Chairman Emeritus.
Noel Behan and Hugh Dugan now serve as Co-chairmen of the Parade Committee.
In 2008 the National Board of A.O.H. asked that local divisions to separate themselves from organizing parades due to liability issues that could arise. The Carbon County St. Patrick's Day parade is now run by a non-profit corporation called the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee of Jim Thorpe and Carbon County, inc. Many of the same members of the old committee now serve on the new non-profit board. They meet once a month during October, November and December, twice a month in January and weekly during February and March for a total of 12 meetings. Countless hours are put in by these individuals in between meetings.
The Grand Marshal is selected by a special committee consisting of the A.O.H. President, L.A.O.H. President, the Parade Committee President and Vice President and Parade Chairman Emeritus Ron Sheehan.
The Aides to the Grand Marshal are selected during the November meetings of the A.O.H. and L.A.O.H. The ladies of the L.A.O.H select 2 women from their division and the men of the A.O.H. select 2 men from their division.
In addition to the parade, a dinner is organized to honor the Grand Marshal and Aides and a Mass is held the evening before the parade. These functions are also organized by the Parade Committee.
The total expenses of running the Dinner, Mass and Parade runs anywhere from $23,000 - $30,000. Bagpipe Bands run between $600 - $1200 each. Buses, plaques, sashes, flowers, printing, entertainment, etc. are all paid for through fund raising activities.
The second row of flags by the A.D.H. are the banners of the four original Provinces of Ireland: Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connaught (pronounced connot)
The Carbon County St. Patrick's Day Parade is unique in that they shuttle the participants to the parade starting point and the marchers march back to their cars. This is done not only as a convenience but out of necessity. There are no side streets on West Broadway where the parade lines up so there is no parking for parade participants.