2024 Grand Marshal
Kerri Martin, founder of Second Life Bikes in Asbury Park, will be the Grand Marshal of this year’s Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade to be held on Sunday, March 10.
“The parade committee thought Kerri would be a good choice. She has an ability to build the community and bring people together. It’s all tied into Second Life Bikes” said Garrett Giberson, founder and president of parade committee.
Giberson particularly pointed out the free Second Life Bikes program where kids 12 to 18 years old can work for 15 hours on repairing and fixing bicycles or doing other chores around the Second Life Bikes shop. Then they get to choose and keep their own bike.
“They teach kids the ability to fix and repair a bike and do other things- what a unique concept! She teaches responsibility and how to think. We are excited to have her as the grand marshal,” he said.
Martin founded Second Life Bikes in 2006 at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church on Second Avenue, with a weekly kids’ biking program, called “The Bike Church”. The program was expanded to become Second Life Bikes, at 21 Main Street and it is now a large, thriving community bike shop. Second Life Bikes have been in all nine previous St. Patrick’s Day parades.
“I am very honored to be chosen Grand Marshal. I have been around Asbury Park for a long time. Being Irish is dear to my heart and I think bikes in parades are a quintessential thing So, this parade is near and dear to me,” she said.
Martin grew up in Freehold. Her paternal grandparents were both from County Kerry on the west coast of Ireland.
“Although their towns were only several miles apart, my grandparents didn’t meet until they were both living and working in Holyoke, Massachusetts after immigrating to the US as teenagers,” she said.
Martin grew up often visiting her grandmother in western Massachusetts. There were many songs, stories, and family gatherings in her dad’s childhood home. She has claimed Irish citizenship through her grandparents’ ancestry and has had the chance to visit relatives in Ireland and her grandparents’ birthplaces.
Martin lives in Asbury Park with her partner, Mark, and their daughter, Nellie. Nellie is named after her great-grandfather’s sister Eileen, who was lovingly referred to as “Aunt Nell.” As a family, they can often be seen walking and biking around town. They like to frequent the city’s Public Library, where Martin sits on the board of trustees. They try and show up for every festival, event, and activity in Asbury Park, including riding every St. Patick’s Day parade.
The parade route starts at 1 pm at Convention Hall and proceeds south on Ocean Avenue, then west on Cookman Avenue, ending at Johnny Mac House of Spirits on Main Street.
“We are always looking for more participants,” Giberson said. He said the annual parade has evolved into a fun, family-oriented community event. And of course, Giberson said he is always looking for great weather. “I am hoping for the best weather. I would love a 70-degree day, but I will settle for 50,” he said.