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Revelers turn out for St. Patrick’s Day parade

HOLMES BEACH — Whether it was an Irish jig or parade participants posing as impish leprechauns throwing beads to the crowd, people gathered to the edges of Marina and Palm drives to watch the floats go by Sunday afternoon.

It was the 11th year for the Beach Bistro St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

For some the parade was a first.

A group of four young girls stood with their parents posing for pictures as the parade continued to wind down the street.

“It was awesome,” said one of the girls.

They wore bunches of beads around their necks and had fists full of candy.

“It was a great first parade experience for them,” said Shay Gregg standing with her husband, David. “They had never seen one before.”

Green beads tied to the end of a fishing line were cast out in the street. When members of the crowd ran forth to grasp the beads, a man posing as leprechaun reeled the beads back while sitting on the hood of a retro white sedan with a truck bed full of people.

An elephant with a parade banner marched down the streets.

The city of Dunedin had a group of bagpipe players performing along the parade route stretching from the corner of Gulf and Marina drives north to the end of 81st Street.

And the Privateers ended the parade with cannon blasts and Jimmy Buffet music blasting.

Vacationers took a break from the beach and local residents came clad in green swimsuits, shirts and even wigs.

“They did a good job. I really liked it. It was a lot of fun,” said 25-year-old Kelly Samson, a Purdue University student visiting the area for the week.

“KK,” owner of KK’s Artique on Longboat Key, said it was the best parade the island has had to date. She was impressed with the elephant, bag pipes and drum and bugle corps.

“They’ve done it for many years, but each year it keeps getting bigger and better. Anyone can be in the parade as long as you’re wearing green,” she said, resting on her bike. “Someday I’m going to be in the parade when I get a green car.”