(March 13, 2014) Ocean City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, now in its 34th year, has grown to be the second largest in Maryland.
The Delmarva Irish-American Club sponsors the highly anticipated tradition, which will start at noon, Saturday, on 57th Street and continue south along Coastal Highway to the 45th Street shopping center where spectators will find a party brewing along with the judges’ stand.
“It started as a very small parade in celebration with the Delmarva Irish-American Club and popularity of the parade grew rapidly,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “It’s the busiest weekend of the year between New Year’s and Memorial Day and a kickoff to the [busy summer] season in Ocean City.”
The Irish festival on 45th Street will begin at 11 a.m. with green beer, Irish entertainment featuring music by Pat O’Brennan, Irish step dancers, face painting, Irish stew from BJ’s on the Water, Irish coffee provided Macky’s and of course, corned beef sandwiches. The festival will conclude around 3 p.m. and the party will continue all evening in restaurants and bars throughout Ocean City.
Every year, the parade grows with more than 120 entries signed up to participate as of Monday, which is the largest number of groups since its inception. Participants will travel from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. for the event.
Seacrets’ Ocean 98 radio station and Jolly Roger Amusement Park will enter floats into the parade, in addition to multiple bars, businesses and organizations.
Solar City, Bad Monkey, March of Dimes, Lovin’ Life Limo’s and Toppa the Hill Garage are newcomers to the 2015 parade, Meehan said.
Pipe and drum bands including the Chesapeake Caledonian Pipe Band and the Ocean City Pipe and Drum Band will be performing in the parade along with Stephen Decatur and Sussex Central high school marching bands.
Viewers can watch the parade from bleachers at the 45th Street center or along Coastal Highway between 57th and 45th streets. Arrive before 10:30 a.m. to avoid traffic delays.
The top marching band, commercial float, non-commercial float, motorized unit, best adult and youth marching unit, special committee award and best overall entry in the parade will take home trophies.
Leading the parade this year are grand marshals Kathleen O’Connell Higgins and Mike Higgins. They moved to Ocean City full-time in 1993 from Washington D.C. While living in Ocean City, they began real estate careers with Mike in sales and Kathleen in office administration. Kathleen moved to sales before retiring and Mike is currently an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage on 104th Street.
They became co-treasurers of the Delmarva Irish-American Club in 2010 and have been members for more than 10 years.
“We love the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and are so honored to be the grand marshals for 2015,” Kathleen stated in a press release.
“Thanks to the Delmarva Irish-American Club for this privilege,” Mike added.
All of the proceeds from the parade and festival will go to local high school scholarships and charities. Last year, the event raised more than $18,000. In addition, the club donated to several local charities and sponsored youth programs, Parade Coordinator Buck Mann said.
“It’s a fun celebration that appeals to all,” he said.
The Delmarva Irish-American Club, founded in 1980, has awarded about $300,000 in scholarships to local students from parade proceeds. The club now has more than 300 members and is open to anyone who is Irish, Irish at heart or who just appreciates all things Irish.
For more information, visit www.delmarvairish.org or contact Mann at 410-289-6156.
Leading Ocean City’s 34th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade
this year will be grand marshals Kathleen O’Connell Higgins
and Mike Higgins.