March 27, 2018
Utica, NY – The torch – make that the shillelagh – has been passed.
Judy Weeks, the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal, was feted at the annual Grand Marshal’s Reception, held on the stage of the majestic Stanley Theatre on March 13th.
The Grand Marshal’s Reception, the traditional start to “parade week,” serves as the first event in the year-long reign of the Grand Marshal, and is highlighted by the ceremonial “passing of the Shillelagh,” in which the previous year’s Grand Marshal hands off the shillelagh to the incoming Marshal.
Surrounded by friends, family, dignitaries and supporters, and flanked by an assemblage of past Grand Marshals, Weeks accepted the shillelagh from 2017 Marshal, Vaughn Lang.
Judy’s involvement in the local Irish community started back in 2004, where she oversaw the hiring and placement of the food vendors for the Great American Irish Festival. Assuming more responsibility each year, she eventually rose to become the festival’s director in 2013, a post she held for five years until a debilitating stroke caused her to hand over the reins this year. She also directed the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for the past eight years. Her selection was revealed at the Halfway to the Great American Irish Festival Hooley, held this past February.
Besides leading the Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade down Genesee Street on Saturday March 17th at 10 AM, Weeks will also serve as an ambassador for the Great American Irish Festival throughout the year.
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