Belmar St. Patrick's Day Parade returns Sunday. Here’s what it means to towns across New Jersey

The 49th Belmar St. Patrick's Day Parade returns on Sunday, and organizers say it's the biggest in the state.
The Pipes and Drums of the Jersey Shore provided an early morning soundtrack of what will soon return to Main Street in Belmar and Lake Como.
“It’s the start, the unofficial start of our tourist season with this parade - and hopefully we will have a good year and get the businesses back to where they have to be,” says Mayor Mark Walsifer.
COVID-19 silenced the green-painted street in 2021, aside from a small group of dedicated marchers – businesses and parade staples, like the pipe bands, felt the impact.  
“It put a real damper on the local community groups, especially our bagpipe bands who went quiet for a whole year,” says Amanda Cregan, 2022 grand marshal and piper. “They depend on parades and parade income to keep their groups going.”
With COVID-19 restrictions gone, the weekend marks the beginning of a statewide parade season with more than two dozen events lined up. Belmar's organizers claim this to be the largest.  
“It’s going to be great to see their faces, their Irish smiling faces on a wonderful day,” says 2011 deputy grand marshal Patricia Feehery.
The Belmar Lake Como Parade steps off on Main Street at 12:30 p.m. Two parades are scheduled for Saturday in Mount Holly and Nutley.