St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Fest This Saturday

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City will be glowing in green as the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, sponsored by the Delmarva Irish-American Club, marches down Coastal Highway on Saturday, March 11.

This Ocean City tradition, which began in 1980, has grown to become the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the state, in addition to becoming a seasonal kick-off for many local businesses.

Leading the parade are Grand Marshals Nancy and Bob McCarthy. Special guests from the Embassy of Ireland are Justice and Home Affairs Counselor Joe Gavin and his wife, Martina. Featuring the Chesapeake Caledonian Pipe Band and the Ocean City Pipe and Drum Band, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade brings the sounds of Ireland to the streets of Ocean City. Also participating are local high school marching bands plus numerous festively decorated floats sponsored by local businesses, groups and organizations.

The procession begins at noon at 57th Street and marches south on Coastal Highway to the 45th Street Shopping Center, where the viewing and judging stands 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 spirited Irish festival complete with live entertainment from Pat O’Brennan, Irish apparel and plenty of food and drink. Spectators can enjoy the free-admission festival beginning at 11 a.m. and running until 3 p.m.

To avoid traffic delays, viewers are urged to arrive before 10:30 a.m. and to view the parade from 57th Street south to 45th Street.

Local NBC affiliate WRDE and the Delmarva Irish-American Club are again partnering to broadcast the annual parade and festival on March 11, including a live stream at, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 11. Cozi TV will rebroadcast the parade on Sunday, March 12, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and all day long on Friday, March 17. WRDE can be found on channel 9 or 809 on cable; channel 31 on DirecTV and Dish, and over the air at 31.1. Cozi is on Comcast channel 204, Mediacom channel 99, and DTV channel 31.2.

This year’s grand marshals are long-time residents of Ocean City and are involved in various charitable and civic groups in the area. Both native Washingtonians, Bob and Nancy McCarthy are graduates of Gonzaga College High School and Notre Dame Academy, both in Washington, D.C. They both attended colleges locally at George Washington University, and Nancy at Georgetown Visitation.

1 grand marshalsBob pursued a career in the federal government and served for 25 years as a senior executive in five different federal agencies. Nancy worked for the federal government and also in the private sector. In 1968, they founded MRF Consulting, LLC — a management consulting firm specializing in human resource management. They are still involved in the company at the present time.

The McCarthy’s relocated to the Eastern Shore in 1994 (they had been property owners since 1964). Bob served three terms on the town council in South Bethany in Delaware and was elected mayor there in 1976. Nancy and Bob are parishioners at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Ocean City, and they are both active in various ministries. Bob serves as trustee for St. Luke’s, and they are members of the Ocean City chapter of AARP. Bob is a long-term member of the Ocean City Ancient Order of Hibernians and served two terms as the organization’s president. Nancy is currently financial secretary of the Ocean City Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. Bob is a third degree and fourth degree member of the Ocean City Knights of Columbus.