HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - The Holyoke Saint Patrick's Committee has kicked off festivities in celebration of parade weekend!
Every year, tens of thousands of people turn out for the biggest homecoming in town to celebrate the Irish culture and heritage.
The Holyoke Saint Patrick's Committee held their annual laying of the memorial wreath Saturday. Holyoke Parade President Devin Sheehan told 22News it's an exciting time of year.
"It's so exciting not only for the Paper City but also for western Massachusetts that we get to have this homecoming in Holyoke and really celebrate our Irish heritage, but also celebrate all the great things there are about the Paper City," Sheehan said.
Every year, the JFK National Award is given to someone who has gone on to do amazing things in their chosen career, and this year the honor went to Thomas James "T.J." Jagodowski, a nationally known comedian, actor, and improvisational performer who was surprised to be this year's award recipient.
Jagodowski told 22News, "Him, President Kennedy being the first this is a long and storied legacy that I hope I don't 'anchor out' by winning it this year. So, right now I'm just trying to take in as much I can and enjoy every little of it."
Jagodowski added that he's thrilled to be back home and a part of the Holyoke Parade as this year's JFK award recipient.
The annual JFK dinner was held at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Where a sold-out crowd enjoyed an evening of celebrating before the big parade Sunday morning.
Hayley Dunn, Spokeswoman for the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade Committee said, "TJ is someone that we've been following his career for a long time. He's a Holyoke Catholic graduate, he used to play baseball in the fields here in Holyoke, his family is still here, so it's really truly an honor at this time to be able to recognize and honor him this evening."
This year marks the 68th annual Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade.
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