Still reeling from the festivities surrounding the St. , the are already thinking ahead to next year.
Last week, the group decided on a date and time for 2013: April 7 at 11 a.m.
Don't let the April date confuse you. The Friends of Erin parade is typically held on the Sunday after St. Patrick's Day, but March 17, 2013 falls on a Sunday. Palm Sunday is the following week, and then it's Easter Sunday.
"We're not going to have the parade during Holy Week," said Joseph Bloecker, the president of the Friends of Erin, which organizes the parade.
The start time is an hour later than the most recent parade, but it is still earlier than the parade has been held traditionally.
Bloecker said the group is trying to find a balance; they want affected the bottom line, though they have tried to weed out unruly crowds, underaged drinkers and bar fights.
"There's just no easy solution," Bloecker said, adding 11 is a compromise of sorts.
The crowd that turned out this year was . Bloecker said it was successful in that there were no arrests of a violent nature. Parades in years past have seen as many as 35,000 people and dozens of calls for fights.
However, from an economic standpoint, . The surveyed businesses about the early start time after the March 25 parade and the majority said business was negatively affected, according to Laraine Creegan, the chamber's executive director.
"We need the businesses to know we understand it wasn't as busy as it could have been," Bloecker said. "Part of it was because of the time, part of it was because of the weather," he said referring to the cold, dreary day.
The Montauk businesses help support the parade. Bloecker estimated they donate a little more than half of the $30,000 to $35,000 it costs to put on the parade. The rest comes from fundraisers.
Creegan said the business community would like to see the parade go back to an early afternoon start time, though she understands that without the cooperation of the Long Island Rail Road that may not be possible.
The chamber, the Friends of Erin, and the sat in on four meetings with railroad officials before the 2012 parade in an attempt to divert trains, which typically bring a younger contingent, from arriving in time for or during the parade. The meetings yielded little results.
"The thing now is dealing with the date," Creegan said looking ahead to April 7. "But, we understand nothing can be done about that."
Bloecker is hopeful that the later date next year will actually bring a bigger crowd, despite the earlier start time, as the weather will be nice and some colleges are on spring break. He said the Friends continue to work on developing plans to fight under-aged drinking and the associate problems.