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A co-founder of the 7th annual St. Patrick's Parade and Irish Fair, Brendan Fay, said the Irish-born brothers were chosen for their spirit and previous support of the parade, particularly 74-year-old writer Malachy."Malachy was one of the first prominent Irish in the city to call on the Fifth Avenue St. Patrick's parade to allow lesbian and gays" to participate, said Fay, an Astoria resident and founder of the Lavender and Green Alliance. Malachy said he preferred the joyful mood of the Queens parade."It is celebratory. It is great music and colorful costumes and lots of children," he said. "The other is very dull. Very puritanical."The stage performer and writer said "there are some words that will make you laugh: baby, Irish and prunes," he said. "The one on Fifth Avenue will be based on prunes." Fay, along with Ellen Duncan and her husband, created the parade in response to the rejection by the existing parades of gay and lesbian groups.Fay said the parade will honor the four McCourt brothers, writer Frank, author of "Angela's Ashes;" Malachy; Alphie; and Mike. The parade will also honor Irish native and co-founder Duncan, who works as a nurse at the Mary Manning Walsh Home for the Aged in Manhattan.The Queens parade kicks off at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside and will head toward Woodside March 5.Political leaders such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the first openly lesbian City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) are expected to attend.Queens District Leader Daniel Dromm said the Sunnyside parade showed the inclusive side of the city, in contrast to parades in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan that were not welcoming to gay participants."The parade represents what being Irish is about," Dromm said. "Anybody can be Irish on St. Patrick's Day - even gay people," said the gay - and Irish - Queens resident.Additional information is available at www.stpatsforall.com.Reach reporter Adam Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2006 Community Newspaper Group
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