Montauk is already counting down for the 50th St. Patrick's Day Parade and on Saturday the group will celebrate the holiday's half-way point.
To mark the occasion, the Friends of Erin will dedicate a monument to the grand marshals of the first five decades worth of parades in a ceremony in the Montauk Village Green, next to the gazebo, at noon.
Because the 50th parade is just around the corner, the group is making an early announcement as to who the 2012 grand marshal will be. Afterall, Friends of Erin president Joe Bloecker said, their name had to be added to the plaque.
"It's not easy to keep a secret in Montauk, but we have so far so I'm not about to let the cat out of the bag," Bloecker said this week. The parade is set for March 25, a week after St. Patrick's Day proper.
The young great-granddaughter of Mike Egan, the first grand marshal, will help unveil the monument and the identity of this coming parade's leader.
There will be a Color Guard from the and music from the Amityville Highland Pipe Band.
Construction began on installing the monument on Tuesday. An approximately three foot tall field stone pedestal with a bluestone top. A bronze plaque listing all of the grand marshals names will be featured.
Tom Ciccariello from in East Hampton has donated the material and labor, Bloecker said.
"We're hoping to have every grand marshal's family we could find there," Bloecker said, whose in-laws Eddie Ecker Sr. and Frances Ecker were both grand marshals.
"We're hoping to get 200 to 300 people at the Green to celebrate the first annual half-way to St. Patrick's event."
A party and parade fundraiser will follow at the at 3 p.m. Tickets are $50, which include a BBQ, live music, raffles, and a four hour open bar. Bag pipers will also perform.
The Montauk Friends of Erin was founded in 1962 with just 12 members. Like its membership, the parade has grown to attract upwards of 30,000 spectators.
Bloecker said the St. Patrick's Day parade and its festivities are an important part of the Montauk community. "It's a coming together of all the locals and a chance to say, 'Look springs here. Business and tourism is around the corner and before you have to get down to business, let's get together,'" he said. "Now we could have something that closes the year out too."
Tickets for the party are available at and the and at the door on the day of the event.