Ocean City, MD – Ocean City will be aglow in green as the St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival, sponsored by the Delmarva Irish American Club, returns Saturday, March 11. While COVID-19 restrictions and storms forced the cancelation of this Ocean City tradition the last three years, the DIAC is pleased to announce the parade will be bigger and better than ever.
The event, which began in 1980, has grown to become the largest St. Patrick’s Parade in Maryland and is the seasonal kick-off for many local businesses. Over the years, the DIAC — a 501(c)(3) social organization — has donated more than $530,000 from parade proceeds to scholarships for local high school students and to other charities and organizations. The DIAC is especially proud to have made a $50,000 donation to the Macky and Pam Stansell House at Coastal Hospice.
Pipe and drum bands will bring the sounds of Ireland to the streets of Ocean City, along with high school marching bands and festively decorated floats sponsored by local businesses, groups and organizations. Leading the parade will be Billy and Madlyn Carder as this year’s grand marshals. And Larry Hogan, former governor of Maryland, will march in the parade as the honorary grand marshal.
The procession begins at noon on Coastal Highway at 57th Street and marches south to the 45th Street Shopping Center, where the viewing bleachers and judging 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 parade route, the 45th Street Shopping Center will again be transformed into a spirited Irish festival complete with live music from the Pat O’Brennan Trio, Irish apparel and souvenirs for sale 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, spectators are urged to arrive before 10:30 a.m. and to view the parade from 57th Street south to 45th Street.
Mike Bradley will serve as parade emcee on the judges’ stand. The parade will be live-streamed by UnScene Productions; details of the stream will be shared on the DIAC Facebook page.
The DIAC was founded in 1980, and its first membership drive resulted in 75 members. Today, there are close to 300 members. The club is open to anyone who is Irish, of Irish descent or just likes things Irish.
There is no rain date for the parade or festival. For more information, visit https://www.delmarvairish.org or contact Buck Mann at 410-289-6156.