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Bay Ridge St. Pat’s Day Parade had Irish eyes smilin’

Brooklyn Daily

Photo gallery

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True colors: Sassy spectator Ryan Nikulin, 7, of Bay Ridge, waves the Irish flag to get marchers in the spirit.
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Green lass: Adorable Makayla Matarrese, 11 months, gets a birds-eye view of the festivities, thanks to a lovin’ hoist from dad Keith.
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Steppin’ out: Jiggers from the O’Malley School of Irish Dance put a fancy foot forward down Fifth Avenue.
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Pipe on: Bagpipers serenade spectators with an ear-pleasing skirl.
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Irish-friendly: Jessica Dayton and Michael Theis of Bay Ridge take in the festivities.
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Brooklyn’s better: Manhattanite Caroline Balkonis brought along her pet pooch Happy to celebrate the day.

And you thought St. Pat’s Day was done for the year.

Ridge revelers extended the party by getting their Irish on for that other festive frolic that’s spells a good time around town — the annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Sunday’s jubilant jaunt, which traditionally falls a week after the other treks, saluted “the old sod” — that’s Ireland to you and me — with pomp, pageantry, and a parade that snaked its away from Fourth Avenue and 95th Street to Fifth Avenue and 67th Street.

Holy rollers stepped off the shindig with a mass at St. Patrick’s Church. Then it was off to the 19th annual parade, which offered plenty of eye candy.

Spectators sporting shamrocks and wide smiles made a beeline for the best viewing spots to cheer the spectacle, led by this year’s grand marshal, Monsignor Kevin Noone, pastor of Our Lady of Angels Church. Costumed marching bands from Fort Hamilton High School and McKinley Junior High — and banner groups from BRAVO volunteer ambulance and other community champions — lined the bustling boulevard as the skirl of bagpipes filled the air, and green-clad ex-pats united with other visitors to celebrate the Irish and their patron saint.

Pretty merrymaker Makayla Matarrese, 11 months, came dressed to thrill in a green hoodie and a leprechaun headband. The wide-eyed tot also had a birds-eye view of the festivities, thanks to dad Keith who hoisted his lil’ girl on his shoulders. Nearby, Bay Ridgite Ryan Nikulin, 7, greeted marchers by proudlly waving a white, green, and orange Irish flag. Jersey joker Jimmy Martin, who crossed two rivers to enjoy festivities in his native Bay Ridge, came dressed for the occasion with his beard dyed green.

Area resident Pat Pozzo, a parade faithful, was head and shoulders above the rest in her kelly green topper and matching beads — with pet mutt Pebbles decked out similarly. The neighborhood march was right up her alley, said Pozzo, who had one more reason to celebrate — the memory of her late grandma.

“Nana Betty was very Irish, and I always feel her smiling down on me, certainly during parades,” said Pozzo.

Local bars helped folks tap into the day with special events and live music — Hollaback and 2U (a U2 cover band) got the Wicked Monk jigging, while the Canny Brothers poured on the charm at Irish Haven.

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.

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