No parade, but it didn’t rain on business

(March 20, 2015) Apart from the fact that it didn’t happen, Ocean City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade worked out exactly as hoped.

What would’ve been the 34th iteration of the Delmarva Irish-American Club’s signature festival on Saturday ended up rained out. But a number of local businesses reported seeing above-average crowds, as would-be parade attendees flocked to bars and restaurants to make the most out of a damp St. Pat’s.

“It was actually a great weekend,” Greg Shockley, owner of Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, the city’s historically busiest establishment over the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, said. “The parade attracted a lot of people, and then unfortunately was cancelled, so they were all looking for a place to go. The day definitely started earlier than usual.”

In fact, at least one local bar decided to start pouring beer at 10 a.m., immediately after it was announced that the parade, scheduled to begin at noon, would not be going off. By that time, a fair number of revelers and vendors had already arrived at the 45th Street Village parking lot, which serves as the parade’s endpoint and the grounds for the day’s festival.

The relatively last-minute call was made after city officials became increasingly concerned about wet-weather hazards on Coastal Highway.

“We waited to try to get the parade off … but it became a public safety issue,” Mayor Rick Meehan, who is also a member of the Delmarva Irish-American Club, said. “I want to thank everyone who came to town and planned to participate in the event.”

This year’s parade and festival was slated to be the largest yet, with 120 floats, eight bands, and dozens of different activities for all ages at the 45th Street lot.

City spokeswoman Jessica Waters cited a number of reasons for cancellation, voiced by city public safety staff.

“Some of the specific concerns at the time were the reduced visibility of spectators, parade participants, employees, and parade units due to the fog,” Waters wrote. “Also, increased stopping distance due to wet roads, slick metal bleachers and standing water on the roadway were also concerns.”

 

Workers remove steel barriers following the cancellation of the St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival on March 14, 2015.

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