St. Patrick’s Day Parade draws largest crowd ever
By Cathy Altman|
Clear blue skies and a light breeze welcomed thousands of people to the 28th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival on Saturday, March 12. Main Street in North Myrtle Beach became a ‘sea of green’ with festival attendees and parade participants dressed in their finest greenery proudly displaying their Irish pride.
The North Strand Optimist Club organized the parade, which consisted of over 100 entries including local and area businesses, city officials, civic and service clubs, dancers, pipe and marching bands, beauty queens and politicians.
Trevor Strawderman, principal of North Myrtle Beach High School, commented, “I am truly honored to serve as this year’s parade grand marshal. Moving here 19 years ago, I was embraced by this wonderful community. I am invested in the North Myrtle Beach community and want to see our youth become educated and prepared to become future community leaders.” Strawderman’s two daughters, Brynn and Lexi, are students attending North Myrtle Beach High School. Several students from North Myrtle Beach High School volunteered to help the North Strand Optimist Club with the parade to complete community service projects. They assisted with parade line-up and made certain every parade unit was in the appropriate order.
Local businessman Fran Tuite with the DH Caddy Club at Azalea Sands Golf Course has participated for the past 15 years as part of the Myrtle Beach Regional Pipe Band and said, “The North Myrtle Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival represents the kick off to the season. The support that the community provides this event is amazing.”
The Triple Toe Cloggers traveled from Laurinburg, N.C., to participate in this year’s parade. Jessi Williams, dance instructor, said, “This is our fourth year participating and the girls have been practicing their routine for months. They are always excited to be in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade here in North Myrtle Beach.”
The festival got underway as soon as the parade ended and the smell of corn beef and cabbage along with other festival foods filled Main Street. Artists and crafters booths lined the streets as live entertainment stages were set up in three locations.
A group of visitors from the Charlotte, N.C., area said it was their third year attending. They make plans for a ‘girl’s weekend’ every year based around the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival. They love this event.
Issac Evans and Leeza Hearn, both 2009 graduates of North Myrtle Beach High School, have attended the event since they were small children, noting they would never miss this premier event of North Myrtle Beach. Luke Butler, Sarah Kincaide and their five-year-old son Troi commented, “This has become a family tradition for their family. Their son enjoys the parade because people throw out candy and finding his favorite food — corn dogs to eat while enjoying the festival and shopping the vendors.”
This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival was deemed another successful event for the city of North Myrtle Beach.