This One’s For Nancy

St. Patrick’s Day, and Syracuse’s St. Patrick’s Parade. They are inseparable. The parade exists today because of one person, CNY’s first female television reporter, Nancy Duffy.

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After Nancy broke through that barrier, very little seemed impossible for her. So, she thought, why not bring back a small, informal St. Patrick’s Day parade that had been dormant for years, and turn it into a big institution that marched on forever?

Today the parade she revived celebrates its 25th anniversary, in her memory.

The fact that 100,000 people turn out for an event that had been defunct for 40 years until 1983 is itself remarkable. Everyone in Syracuse puts it down to an extraordinary force of nature… Nancy Duffy, who died on Dec. 22.

“She started it all,” said David Hoyne, a former Kilkenny hurler who was last year’s grand marshal. “She did Trojan work. I don’t know where we’d be without her.”

The Irish Echo

“The committee has done its best to make our 25th Anniversary Parade, Irish Trailblazers” nothing less than a celebration of Nancy’s life and continuing spirit. We honor Nancy for all her trail blazing and know in our hearts that she is looking down at us smiling while we all struggle to put together something that she did with such ease and grace.”

Parade Committee President Janet Higgins

Today’s marchers gather in downtown Syracuse, braced for what may be some of the worst weather the St. Patrick’s parade has ever faced. Through everything from balmy spring-like days to full-blown blizzards, it has never been canceled. The parade steps off this year for a life, as well as a holiday, well worth celebrating.

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