For the first time in its 158-year history, Guttenberg residents marched through town on St. Patrick’s Day – despite cold, Winter weather conditions.
By Marc Bussanich/Hudson County View
Following the marchers on the parade route were North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue trucks, police cars and two mammoth-sized, military-grade vehicles from the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.
Along the route, marchers waved to onlookers peering out from their windows and residents generally reciprocated the gesture.
Just moments before the bagpipes signaled the start of the parade, we had an opportunity to interview Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff – who recently decided that he would not be seeking re-election.
The town’s demographics have been changing for the past three decades, but for today everybody is Irish, the mayor said.
“Everybody says that on today, and this past week, everybody is Irish. It’s a pleasure for us to honor the Irish that still live in town and those that used to live in town,” he explained.
“This is the first time that we are doing this. We have done a lot of firsts over the years, but this is the first time we are honoring St. Patrick’s Day.”
The mayor gave credit to Councilman Wayne Zitt for organizing the parade, who emphasized the importance of bringing the community together to participate.
“We have the North Hudson Regional Fire Department, Guttenberg Police Department, Hudson County Sheriff’s Department, West New York honor guard and North Bergen is helping out,” Zitt stated.
“Multiple communities are helping out, and that’s what we wanted. This is the first of its kind, and we’re trying to start something new.”
Zitt recently announced his candidacy to be Guttenberg’s next mayor. On that point, Hudson County View asked him what would be his campaign message to Guttenberg residents.
“To continue on the things that we have been doing. The mayor has started a couple of projects that we want to finish, such as the [Anna L. Klein expansion] being the most important,” the councilman said.
“Obviously, being a small community it’s tough to reinvent the wheel, but we want to keep making the current things better.”
The parade, which had about 200 participants, began at 68th Street and Madison Avenue and ended at the intersection of 70th Street and Park Avenue.