Anna Maria St. Patrick’s Day Parade: the Biggest Southeast of Savannah
The Beach Bistro’s 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be unleashed on Sunday, March 19th at 4:00 pm in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island.
As in all great things Irish, the idea for the parade was hatched in a bar. Bistro owner Sean Murphy and journalist Vin Mannix were toasting St. Patrick’s parades of their ill-spent youth and they resolved to have a parade of the island’s own.
The Beach Bistro Parade is now the biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parade south and east of Savannah, Georgia. It may also be the only St. Patrick’s Parade south and east of Savannah, Georgia.
The parade will proceed from Eat Here near the corner of Marina Drive and Gulf Drive and proceed north along Marina Drive and then and Palm Drive and winds up at 79th St. in Holmes Beach.
The parade will feature high school bands, pipe bands, and floats and the mascot from the Pittsburg Pirates – an associate sponsor of the Parade.
The Parade is led by Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson and World War II Veteran Bob Schweiger. Mr. Schweiger was in the second wave at Omaha Beach on the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day.
In memory of “Judy” the circus elephant, a former star of the parade who passed on last year, her long-time companion Mr. Bones will be leading two camels in the parade. Camels are a mystical creature for the Irish – they can go for weeks without drinking.
When questioned about his motivation for creating and continuing the parade, Sean Murphy responded:
“I did it for my kids when they were little. It was great fun for the family to have its own parade. Now we do it for all the kids and all the families. At some point in the parade, Fred Sullivan and Vin Mannix and I stop and look at the crowd and the bands and balloons and we marvel at all the chaos we have created without getting thrown in jail.”