Ray Sheridan remembers working the first Rockland County St. Patrick’s Day parade back in 1963 when he was about 12-years-old and spent the day selling little flags and pins along the parade route.
Sheridan’s father, Raymond Sheridan Sr., was one of the founders of the parade, and so Sheridan estimates he’s been to somewhere between 30 and 40 of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Rockland.
On March 18 of next year, Pearl River will host the 50th Annual Roickland Count St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and recently Ray Sheridan was selected as Grand Marshal of the parade.
“I’m looking forward to it, it’s quite an honor,” he said. “Hopefully everything goes smoothly that day and it’s a beautiful day out.”
Sheridan’s father wasn’t only one of the parade’s founders, but was parade chairperson for the first four parades and Grand Marshal for the seventh.
“He was very proud of his culture and excited to share it,” Sheridan said of his father.
Sheridan said a lot of people treat the parade as kind of the unofficial beginning of springtime weather.
“It’s really one of the first outdoor activities during the year,” he said.
Sheridan has marched in the parade plenty of times before, many with his Ancient Order of Hibernians division. AOH is a worldwide Irish Catholic organization that aims to foster and preserve Irish culture, and Sheridan is a member of Division Three, which represents Pearl River.
He was nominated as Grand Marshal of the parade by his AOH division, and said the entire process of being nominated to earning the position took about a year or so.
“It was quite an honor to be selected and nominated from my own division,” he said.
Sheridan was born in the Bronx, but moved with his family to Pearl River when he was four. He attended the St. Margaret School and Pearl River High School, going on to graduate from Pace University with a degree in business administration. He’s currently the president of Raymond Sheridan Financial, in Pearl River, which he took over from his father after working at a few other companies after graduating.
Sheridan said he has a lot of family that come to the parade each year, and will especially next year when he’s Grand Marshal.
“We go to mass in the morning and then to breakfast,” he said. “The kids always love the parade. It’s a big hit with kids.”
He said kids like to see everyone marching in the parade, as well as see all the musicians. Sheridan said the music is one of his favorite parts of the parade each year.
Editor's Note: This story initially ran shortly after Sheridan was named as grand marshal for Sunday's parade.