Photos and text by Connie Leinbach
Mark Reisinger drove from his Annapolis, Md., home especially for the first annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Thursday on Ocracoke.
“You can’t say you’ve been to all of them unless you’ve been to the first one,” he said after the parade ended at the Ocracoke Bar & Grille.
There were four entrants in the parade that began under warm, sunny skies at the Ocracoke gas station.
“I was hoping for three this first year,” said Sean Death, who with his wife, Laurie, spearheaded the event.
“Angel, the O’Bar Leprechaun,” hired by Death, was the grand marshal.
“I love it,” she said about her first visit to the island as she waited for the parade to begin.
Greg and Eden Honeycutt were some of the parade participants.
“Kelly’s (in Nags Head) started out small and now it’s the third largest (St. Paddy’s Day parade) in the state,” he said before the walk began, led by Deputy Sheriff Blackburn Warner in a patrol car.
Along with the Honeycutts, comprising the parade line-up were the Bryant family walked with their dogs, a Howard’s Pub crew, decked out in green shirts and hats in the “Pubette” electric limo.
“The Fighting Irish,” a group organized by the Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar, joined the parade mid-march.
As the procession made its way down Irvin Garrish Highway with some tossing out candy and trinkets, pockets of spectators along the way cheered.
“I blinked,” said Finley Austin, who watched the parade along with her dog, Atticus. “What the parade lacked in length made up for in punctuality and spirit.”
Daniel Vieyra and his wife, Kathy, echoed Austin’s observation and the parade length.
“It was very nice,” Daniel said.
Howard’s Pub won the $550 cash prize, as judged by “Angel the O’Bar leprechaun,” hired by Death to be the parade grand marshal and in charge of “tomfoolery” at the bar.
“We don’t get to do this kind of thing too often,” Ann Warner, Pub owner, told the parade entrants and patrons of the O’Bar after winning. “We’re going to donate this money right now to Ocracoke School.”
Death said he was pleased with the event.
“The response we had this year will encourage a second year,” he said, adding that it will be on the actual St. Patrick’s Day next year and may start later to allow more involvement from school-age kids who want to participate.