Parade Grand Marshal
William "Bill" & Karen Cardinal
Karen and Bill both hail from Queens, New York. They were brought up in loving families who instilled in them the importance of their Catholic faith, family, friendship, charity, and community.
Those values never left their hearts when they left New York for Cape Cod in 1988. During their 11 years on the Cape, they frequently visited Newport on day trips and short weekends. During those visits, they fell in love with Aquidneck Island and its seaside City of Newport.
In 1999, after two years of attempting to purchase the IHOP in Middletown, they were successful. Since then, they built the IHOP in North Dartmouth, MA and are looking forward to opening their newest location in East Providence this spring.
The Cardinals had found their home and, if asked today, they are done moving. “This is our home and community. We have met so many amazing people here that we truly consider family.”
Since moving to Aquidneck Island, they have been very involved in the community and enjoy helping as many causes as they can, including both public and Catholic schools, local sports teams, and many local churches, charities and causes. They are often found involved in a pancake breakfast or spaghetti dinner to benefit an organization in need. The Cardinals feel that it is because of the grace of God that they have been blessed with a means to give back to the community.
Bill is a member of The Ancient Order of Hibernians and was selected Hibernian of the Year in 2011. He is a Past Grand Knight and member of Middletown/Newport Council Knights of Columbus. He is also a member of Vasco Da Gama Holy Ghost Society and the Portuguese American Club in Portsmouth. He has served on the All Saints Academy and Cluny School Boards, Fort Adams Trust Board, and the Rhode Island Hospitality Association Board. Karen is a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. The Cardinal family was the honored recipient of the Civitas Award in 2005, and the IHOP Middletown has been the proud continuous recipient of the Big Daddy Award for more than a decade.
Karen and Bill were married in New York in 1987, and are proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Kristin and Becky and, since 2016, a Labrador Retriever named Holly.
Since 2001 the Cardinals have been the largest supporters of the Newport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Their support has helped the Parade prosper over the year. Because of all they do, the Parade Committee is forever thankful. They have been true pillars of the community in their support of all the various events, schools and organizations. Because of all this, the Cardinals are the first joint Grand Marshals in the sixty-year history of the parade.
Congratulations to Bill and Karen Cardinal, our 2016 Grand Marshals.
Our yearly button designs try to incorporate the vocation or interests of our Grand Marshal. For the 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade our Grand Marshals are William "Bill" & Karen Cardinal.. This year’s button makes use of a number of symbols important to them. The unique blue border represents the IHOP Restaurants (International House of Pancakes) color for which both are proud franchise owners. The green, white, and orange represents the National flag of Ireland and their Irish roots. The cardinal, well you can guess. It is a play on words representing their surname – Cardinal. The shamrock that the cardinal carries in its beak represents the Holy Trinity and the many hours both of the Cardinals spend at their Parish Church (Saint Barnabas) and in supporting catholic education on the Island.
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