Hilton Head Island hosts annual St. Patrick’s Day parade

Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 10:27 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Coastal Empire and Lowcountry rounded out this weekend with more St. Patrick’s Day activities, including on Hilton Head Island.

People in the Lowcountry gathered on Sunday afternoon for Hilton Head’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Organizers moved the event up by about half an hour to beat the rain, amd the crowd was ready for anything.

The first group to step off in South Carolina’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade was the Ancient Order of Hibernians. They were also the sole Irish group represented in the Parade. The Hibernians are the oldest Irish organization in the United States and boast more than 65,000 members.

“We take it very seriously. It’s part of our heritage to honor the great St. Patrick, and that’s what we’re trying to do again in the Lowcountry,” says Chuck Murphy, the President of the Bishop Patrick Lynch Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Also honored after the Hibernians stepped off The United State Military and first responders. A rendition of the National Anthem was sung, and a Coast Guard helicopter flew over the parade route. The Army band also played music.

The parade was also a big day for the 2023 Grand Marshal, former tennis champion Stan Smith.

“There’s a lot of big events on Hilton Head, but this one is so important to the community, and it’s great to be part of it. We’ve been here for so many years, and it’s a very special event,” Smith says.

So important, crowds of people lined Pope Avenue to watch the over 110 entries in the parade. It was something the kids in attendance could enjoy.

“It’s such a great opportunity for them to see fun and so many floats, and music, and it’s totally safe,” says Annabella, who brought her son to the parade.

The adults, getting into the spirit of things as well.

“The comradery! Everyone is Irish and sticking together. It’s beautiful. I love it! I totally just love being here. Hilton Head is just wonderful. The town comes together and does all this for us- it’s special,” says Tim Condame, who came to watch the parade.

Some of WTOC’s very own walked in the parade. Meteorologist Jamie Ertle and reporter Tyler Manion walked the route, while engineering manager Joel Kepple drove the Stormchaser.