Marching orders take Pittston group to NYC

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First Posted: 3/11/2013

Sometimes you march behind horses and wonder what you might step in.

Sometimes you march in front of fire engines and skedaddle when those vehicles are called to an emergency.

And sometimes your souvenir from a St. Patrick’s Day Parade makes people wonder if you’ve been kissed by a leprechaun.

“I guess I did feel kind of lucky,” 18-year-old Miranda Warunek of Pittston said with a laugh, remembering how a green sticker she sported on her face one sunny parade day resulted in a tan line shaped like a perfectw shamrock. “It lasted for a couple days. I was in about sixth grade.”

Those are just a few of the memories Warunek and her sister Letitia, 20, shared as they waited their turn to practice jigs and reels with the Emerald Isle Step Dancers in a rehearsal room in Pittston.

The group, whose members range from wee colleens through grown lasses, danced their way through the streets of Scranton and Jim Thorpe last weekend and will perform in New York City on March 16.

They’ve dedicated their appearance in New York’s parade to the memory of Kevin Nelson, the late grandfather of three young dancers, Kit, Fiona and Lizzy Neville.

The girls’ grandfather was a co-director of the big parade in the Big Apple, Emerald Isle director Jennifer Woss explained.

And, if they weren’t going to be marching and dancing in New York, Woss said, the local group would have enjoyed appearing in the Wilkes-Barre parade, which is also scheduled for March 16.

When the parades start, spectators will have a chance to admire floats, recognize friends, celebrate the steady approach of spring, and experience a dose of Celtic culture.

Really, how often do you have the chance to hear bagpipes? Or to watch the flashing feet of Irish dancers?

“It’s a great opportunity to show the community what we’ve been practicing,” Letitia Warunek said. “We do this all year long.”