More Articles Click

Diversity On Display: St. Patrick, Peruvian Parade & Harrison Fest

Jul 22, 2022
Diversity on Display Harrison Fest Article The Observer

The Covid 19 pandemic shut down a lot of public gatherings in 2020 including the 2020 United Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade. Earlier this year (2022) the United Irish Association decided to hold their St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2022 in West Hudson after a two year hiatus.  The parade and celebration of St. Patrick and Irish-Americans’ contributions to our community with a Parade and gatherings brought back a sense of normalcy.  It was a bold move on behalf of the United Irish Association and will be fondly remembered for years to come.

Members & Family of United Irish Marching United Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade 2022

The United Irish Association could have easily canceled the Parade but it decided to move forward even when there was a scheduling conflict with a New York Red Bulls soccer game threatening to cause the cancellation of the Parade.  Initially, the United Irish Association moved the start time one hour earlier and then Red Bulls management moved their game time to later to avoid what could have been a terrible traffic nightmare.  There were a lot of smiles when it all came together and the United Irish St. Patrick’s Day parade kicked off from Harrison on its way to the Kearny Town Hall.

See More Photos of the United Irish St. Patrick's Parade 2022 by clicking here. You can also use search bar to search St. Patrick's to look at our other articles about the 2022 United Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade.

United Irish Members March the 2022 St. Patrick's Day in Harrison NJ

Peruvian Civic Association Marched In United Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Members of Peruvian Civic Association Marching United Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade

At the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Peruvian Civic Association marched with its contingent of officers and members, and they were joined by Alyssa Sullivan, Miss New Jersey riding in a convertible car in the Parade. It was a reminder that our community is very diverse and we all missed each other and the traditions that make us come together as a community to celebrate each other’s culture and homage to the different cultures that make Harrison such a wonderful place to live.

Peruvian Civic Association Independence Parade

This weekend the Peruvian-Civic Association has organized and will be marching in the first post-Covid West Hudson Peruvian parade   The Parade will start in front of Harrison Town Hall and then go up North Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. on its way to the Kearny Town Hall. There will also be a Festival held at the Frank Vincent Marina Park in Kearny NJ. The kickoff for the Parade is 12 Noon. For more information please read our prior article entitled  Peruvian-Civic Association Parade 2022 July 24th.

Defining Diversity

Diversity is a word used to describe inclusion.  It has of late been a word with positive connotations and applied to describe communities where different ethnic groups celebrate and partake in the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy.  We can celebrate our ancestors and pay homage to those in our family who came to America in pursuit of their American Dream and also embrace other person’s cultures that have made their way to America in pursuit of their American Dream.  It also connotes acceptance of different religions.

Diversity On Display The Observer Article

There is a great article by Kevin Canessa (Editor & Broadcaster of the Observer), in The Observer newspaper entitled Diversity on Display at Harrison Fest '17.  In the article, Kevin Canessa captures what is so special about Harrison Fest and how great an idea and execution of an idea by then Harrison Councilman and President of Harrison Fest, Anselmo Millan.

Harrison Fest was celebrating the Town of Harrison’s diversity for a very long time before it became a buzzword.  As Kevin Canessa points out in his article “For the 22 consecutive years, the annual event was successful – and based on the comments from attendees, there couldn’t have been a better way to spend a day … or entire weekend .. in the early fall.”  Canessa then goes on to record for history some wonderful quotes in the article.

Quotes like, “I look forward to this event every year,” said Mia Romano, 32, of Elizabeth, who said she’s come to Harrison Fest every year since 2012.  “Some of my relatives live in Harrison. Pulling something like this off every year seems impossible. But they do it. I give a lot of credit to the organizers.”

Harrison Fest Not Just a Street Festival

Harrison Fest is not simply a Street Festival.  There are year-round community events organized by Harrison Fest, a non-profit corporation.  There is, of course, the Grand Parade which goes down Harrison Avenue to kick off the Street Festival, and opportunities for artists to show their talents by dancing, playing music, and showing their artwork.  The Main Stage and a Secondary Stage for performances throughout the weekend. Local merchants get to put out their merchandise in front of their stores during the Street Festival free of charge.  Outside vendors have to pay a fee but the investment is worth it.  Great care is taken to ensure that local businesses whether they are on Harrison Avenue or in another location in Harrison get the opportunity to partake in the Harrison Fest Street Festival.

Queens Gala

The Queens Gala is also part of Harrison Fest and it showcases the cultures of over 25 different countries it is not a beauty contest (although there is beauty to be seen) but a gathering of young adults to showcase the heritage of their ancestors' homeland before they came to America.  As former Councilman and President of Harrison Fest puts it “Celebrating diverse cultures from other countries alongside the United States of America flag.”

Make sure you read Kevin Canessa’s article. Canessa nicely sets out the events of Harrison Fest 2017 Weekend and some wonderful quotes.  We leave you with another quote from the article:

“Jin Synnott, 64, says he doesn’t get around much anymore. But Harrison Fest is something he does his best to go to each year because he likes getting the chance to support something local. … ‘I don’t know how Anselmo (Millan) does it. … They tell me he has meetings all the time throughout the year and that he lives and breathes this with his sidekicks John Pinho and Monica (Miguens).  Look around.  There are people all over, from all over, not just Harrison you know.  This really is what sets us apart from the other towns around here.  We bring people together.’ “

 Current VP (Former President) Peruvian Civic Association Yanini T. Paz with President of Harrison Fest Anselmo Millan at Harrison Fest 2017 Gala Sponsor Red Carpet. 

At the end of the article Kevin Canessa, wrote “And sure enough, now that Harrison Fest 2017 is complete, it’ll be time for Millan and his crew to get back to work… for Harrison Fest 2018.  ‘Next year, we will do this again.’ Millan said.  And given Millan’s standards, it will likely be bigger and better than ever before.”

One of the Harrison Fest 2017 Street Banner. The Other hung across Harrison Avenue in front of the Harrison Town Hall.

Visit to Learn More About Harrison Fest

Harrison Fest 2018 however was canceled, not because of the Covid pandemic, but because then Councilman Anselmo Millan ran for Mayor of Harrison in the Democratic Primary.  Stay tuned for more on that later.

Make sure you go out on Sunday, July 24, 2022, and take in the Peruvian Civic Associations Parade celebrating Peruvian Independence Day and much more.  Various groups will be marching in the parade and it is sure to be a great family event and opportunity to meet your neighbors. The Parade kicks off at 12 noon from the Harrison Town Hall, 318 Harrison Avenue, Harrison NJ.

What do you like about living in Harrison?  Share what you felt about the United Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade? Share what your left about the Peruvian Independence Parade and Festival.  Tell us what you liked best about Harrison Fest? Let Us Know Your Thoughts on our Community Discussion Board.  If you have not signed up yet to participate you can Sign Up now.

Photo Credit: The Observer Newspaper (Cover of the Observer Diversity on Display)