Twenty years ago Sean Murphy and Susan Timmins loaded up their kids into an old green lawn trailer and armed with a permit and a boom box drove the green-bespeckled children down the middle of Gulf Drive to the amusement and consternation of fellow Islanders who had no idea they were witnessing the First Annual Anna Maria Island St Patrick’s Day Parade. Within a few years the parade grew to encompass bands and floats and abundant greenery and thousands of onlookers.
Sean boasts, “The parade is now the largest St Paddy’s Day Parade South and East of Savannah. It may also be the only St Paddy’s Day Parade South and East of Savannah. It is HUUUGE. Bigger than Trump’s inaugural.”
On Sunday, March 18, the Beach Bistro will again proudly host the Beach Bistro’s 20th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Anna Maria Island. The parade is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., beginning at Eat Here, 5315 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach. It will proceed north on Marina Drive and then Palm Drive and end North Palm Drive and 78th Street.
Anyone interested in participating in the parade should assemble at 2:00 in the parking area south of Eat Here.
The parade is free and open to the public, and Anna Maria Island residents (Irish or otherwise) are invited to participate. The slow-strolling parade attracts upwards of fifteen-thousand celebrants each year and features area marching bands, pipe bands, musicians and colorful floats as well as charming wee folk dressed as leprechauns. Parade Marshalls will be World War Two veteran Mr Bob Schweiger and Korea Naval veteran “Mr Bill”.
The Parade’s long-time favorite parade elephant, Judy, will not be in attendance. We lost Judy to elephant heaven a couple of years back. She will be forever remembered and missed.
In her stead the Animal Kingdom will be represented by camels. Camels are of course a mystical favorite for the Irish because they can go for weeks without drinking.
Participants and Parade fans can get more information by calling the Bistro at 941-778-6444.