SUN PHOTO/CHANTELLE LEWIN St. Patrick, decked out in a green robe,
a staff and a crown, greets the crowd at Sunday’s parade, which
wound from Tidemark to the city limits at 85th Street.
HOLMES BEACH - Everything was green and very crowded on Sunday as the biggest and best Beach Bistro St. Patrick’s Day Parade wound through the streets of Holmes Beach. A seemingly endless line of cheering crowds lined both sides of Marina and Palm drives beginning at 4 p.m. at the Tidemark and heading north to Bistro led the action, followed by Holmes Beach officials in the city’s boat. Bands included the Dunedin Pipe Band and Braden River, Southeast and Manatee high schools. The Progress Village Fiddlers entertained with Irish music and youths from Rowlett Magnet Elementary School danced the jig.
One of the most popular attractions wasn’t a float at all, but an ambling elephant named Judy, who looked resplendent in her bright red and gold harness and matching ankle bracelets.
The O’Connor and McNamara’s Pub float, always a crowd favorite, was followed by the Shriners in their mini-cars, who stopped in front of Duffy’s to put on a show.
Last but not least, the AMI Privateers saluted the crowd with cannon blasts from their ship, The Skullywag, while wenches and pirates alike waved swords and peppered everyone with beads and baubles.
Traffic before and after the parade was basically gridlocked throughout the Island’s main streets, with cars backed up in both lanes of the Anna Maria Island Bridge on Manatee Avenue.
Travel time from 75th Street in Bradenton out to Anna Maria City was estimated at more than an hour at one point.
But most parade-goers didn’t seem to mind the lengthy trek on or off the Island, as the weather cooperated and provided a Chamber of Commerce day at the beach.