OCEAN CITY — Ocean City will be glowing with green at the 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, which marches down Coastal Highway on Saturday, March 16.
Sponsored by the Delmarva Irish-American Club, the Ocean City tradition has grown to become the second largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the state, in addition to a seasonal kick-off for many local businesses.
Leading the parade are grand marshals Molly and John O’Brien. They have been active members of the Delmarva Irish-American Club for more than 10 years. He is the vice-president of the club, serves on the board of directors and runs the DIAC website. She works behind the scenes, serving as the parade-day face-painter as well as hand-making Irish-inspired crafts to sell at the parade.
With pipe and drum bands, including the Chesapeake Caledonia Pipe and Drum Band and the Ocean City Pipe Band, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade brings the sounds of Ireland to the streets of Ocean City. Also participating are several area high school marching bands led by the Stephen Decatur High School Marching Band and numerous festively decorated St. Patty’s Day floats.
The procession begins at noon at 58th Street and marches south on Coastal Highway to the 45th Street Shopping Center, where the reviewing and judges stand will be located. Trophies will be awarded for best marching band, best commercial float, best non-commercial float, best motorized unit, best adult marching unit, best youth marching unit, special committee award, judges’ choice award and best overall entry in the parade.
In addition to the celebration on the street, the 45th Street Shopping Center will be once again be transformed into a lively Irish Festival complete with live Irish entertainment, dancers, face painting, Irish apparel and plenty of food and drink. With music provided by Pat Garvey, spectators can enjoy the free-admission festival beginning at 10 a.m. running until 4 p.m. To avoid traffic delays, viewers are urged to arrive before 10:30 a.m. and to view the parade from 58th Street south to 45th Street.
The Delmarva Irish-American Club was founded in 1980. The first membership drive resulted in 75 members; today the membership totals more than 300 and is open to anyone who is Irish, or Irish descent or just likes things Irish. The club has awarded over $250,000 for scholarships to local students from the proceeds of previous parades. For more information, visit www.delmarvairish.org or contact Buck Mann at 410-289-6156.