The Valley Community Association (VCA) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit United Way agency located in southeast Buffalo. The VCA serves all ages from infants to senior citizens through various services and programs. The VCA operates programs from the Father Carmichael Community Center, the Valley Senior Center, and the Valley Child Care Center, all located at South Park Avenue and Elk Street in the "Valley" neighborhood. Throughout the year the VCA organizes various events to promote community togetherness and neighborhood spirit.
"OLD NEIGHBORHOOD" ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE FUNDRAISER PARTY
The Valley Community Association will be hosting a Fundraiser Party for their 14th Annual "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, February 24th, 2007 at the Valley Community Center, located near the junction of South Park Avenue and Elk Street. The party will run from 8pm-Midnight and is just $20 per person, which includes admission, draft beer, pop, and entertainment. Canned beer and wine will also be available for sale. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling Lori at 823-4707 ext. 4 or can also be purchased the night of the party at the door. Proceeds from the parade will go towards the Valley Community Association and towards the staging the "Old Neighborhood" parade.
This year's entertainment at the Fundraiser Party will be provided by popular Celtic band "Eire Road". Check out their website www.eireroad.com for more information on the band and its members.
For more information contact: Lori Overdorf at 716-823-4707 ext. 4.
VALLEY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION HOSTS
14TH ANNUAL "OLD NEIGHBORHOOD" ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE
The Valley Community Association's 14th Annual "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade is scheduled for Saturday, March 17th, 2007. The parade will kick-off at 12 Noon from the Valley Community Center, located near the junction of South Park Avenue and Elk Street. The "other" parade, which retraces the original 1913 parade route, winds through the historic streets of the Valley and Old First Ward neighborhoods.
This year the parade will be led by Grand Marshal Charlotte Misuraca, who was born and raised in the Old First Ward neighborhood and volunteers at the Valley Community Association. In addition, the parade will be dedicated to the late Margaret "Peg" Sullivan and Sue Felschow.
Viewing of the parade will be along South Park Avenue, Smith Street, Elk Street, Hamburg Street, and O'Connell Avenue. This year is looking to be the biggest parade yet, topping last year's count of 60 contingents. There will be something for everyone - Irish dancers, marching bands, floats, clowns, classic cars, local radio stations, local police and fire department vehicles, local unions, dignitaries, family clans, and more.
Following the parade there will be a grand Irish "Hooley" at the Valley Center that will feature both inside and outside bars, live Irish music by "Eire Road", Irish dancers, and plenty of food and refreshments.
For more information call Lori at 716-823-4707 ext.4 or visit the VCA website at www.thevalleycenter.com.
2007 Charlotte Misuraca
2006 Bertha "Bert" Hyde
2005 Virginia "Ginny" Decker
2004 Elizabeth "Bootsie" Yuskiw
2003 Mike "Ozzie" Overdorf
2002 Mike Fitzpatrick
2001 Doris Bouquard
2000 Bill Leonard
1999 Jack & Betty McGuire
1998 Dan Higgins
1997 Don "Bughead" Smith
1996 Geraldine Butler
1995 Joe Boulanger
1994 Jim "Boss" Marren
"HOW IT ALL BEGAN"
THE STORY BEHIND THE
"OLD NEIGHBORHOOD" ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE
The sun is shining, the flags are hung, the marchers are finally in order, and Peg Overdorf, executive director of the Valley Community Association, breaths a sigh of relief. It's time for the parade to kick-off!! Slowly, but surely, the "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade starts to wind its way through the historic streets of the Valley and Old First Ward neighborhoods.
Peg Overdorf founded the "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade in 1994, a celebration that not only has become a central event in the neighborhood, but also has become the second largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in Western New York. The parade retraces the original 1913 parade route and focuses, in a fun and entertaining way, on the tradition and nostalgia associated with the area. Irish immigrants marched around the Valley and the Ward, the first neighborhoods they settled in Buffalo, in celebration of their heritage and patron saint - St. Patrick. Eventually the parade was moved to Main Street and then to Delaware Avenue, its current location.
Ms. Overdorf saw an opportunity to reconnect the neighborhood with its Irish roots by re-instituting the parade. "I grew up in a household where my parents put a lot of emphasis on our Irish heritage. It was always a huge part of our lives. St. Patrick's Day was special - it brought everyone in the family, and everyone in the neighborhood, together. That's what I wanted to recreate with the parade."
The parade started out small, with a little more than twenty marching units participating. Now the parade boasts more than fifty marching units - just about half as many as the downtown parade. The marching contingents represent a broad spectrum of participants including Irish step-dancers, floats, family marching units, marching bands, and local sports mascots. The jobs that the Irish have traditionally held, such as policemen, firemen, and politicians, are well represented in the parade. The Police Emerald Society leads things off, a traditional position that they held in the original parade, with the Fire Emerald Society leading off the second division.
Unions, which have always been an important part of Irish heritage, are also represented, most poignantly by the Scoopers Local 109. "The Scoopers" were the guys hauling the grain out of the boats that came in on the Buffalo River. They made Buffalo the grain-milling capital of the world." remarked Overdorf.
Perhaps the most striking difference between the two parades though, is the sense of community that the parade promotes. The togetherness reaches not only into the surrounding area, but the entire Western New York region.
"People have started to come from all over for the parade, calling weeks in advance to get information." said Overdorf. So what's the appeal?? "The downtown parade is just like any other parade, but with an Irish theme. Our parade is more personal. People can identify and connect more. They can imagine what it was like at the turn of the century - their ancestors marching down the same streets, celebrating in the same way." The "Old Neighborhood" Parade has even come to be known as the "other parade".
The "other parade" is special in many ways. For one, Irish flags, embroidered with family names and clans, adorn the parade route. Accounts of the original parade describe the parade route as being spectacularly decorated.
"We wanted to incorporate as much of the original parade as possible. It's an awesome sight when the sun is shining, and the flags are blowing in the wind - it transforms the neighborhood.", stated Overdorf.
The Grand Marshal also plays a huge role in the parade. The Grand Marshal is selected by the Parade Committee, a group of neighborhood residents and business owners who plan and assist with parade preparations. The nominee must meet certain requirements such as being from Irish descent and their contributions to the community.
"We view the Grand Marshal as somewhat of a lifetime achievement award - someone who has quietly, but directly, influenced, helped, and devoted their life to the 'Old Neighborhood'. Our Grand Marshal's have been instrumental in preserving the neighborhood that they love so much." expressed Ms. Overdorf.
This year - the 10th anniversary of the parade - Ms. Overdorf expects more participants than ever and, as always, a unique celebration of Western New York's Irish heritage. Reflecting on the parade, Ms. Overdorf, said "I just keep thinking back to my mother and father and the importance they placed on our Irish heritage. They would be happy with the parade back in the 'Old Neighborhood' - a real community celebration that everyone can enjoy."
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Saturday, March 17th, 2007
12 Noon Kick-Off Time
Name of Organization:__________________________________________________________________
Phone:___________________________________ ____ Fax:____________________________________
~Type of Entry~
____ Float ____ Marching Unit ___ Other - Describe_____________________________
Number of people & vehicles in contingent_______________________________________________
~Brief Description of Your Parade Entry~
Please return this application to Lori at the Valley Community Association, 93 Leddy Street, Buffalo, NY 14210 or
Fax to 823-4254 by March 12th, 2007
If you have any questions please contact Lori at the
Valley Community Association at 823-4707 ext.4