March 2013

Our Town: Hilton Head Go Bragh: The 30th Annual Hilton Head Island St. Patricks Day Parade

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr.

“We had about 50 participants, plus a trolley and a little fire truck. The route started on Dunnagan’s Alley, went up Arrow Road and made a right turn on 278 to the Sea Pines Circle and ended at the bar’s (Reilley’s) original location in the Gallery of Shops on Greenwood Drive,”—basically a loop around the block.

A few years ago Tom Reilley shared that little memory of 1983’s inaugural Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day parade. A rather informal affair it was when compared to what has since become of the event. From those humble beginnings, not even Reilley would have imagined we’d be here in 2013 celebrating the 30th Annual Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade Presented by iSelectMD. But it’s true and thanks to…call it the Luck of the Irish…it comes with a few extra nuggets of gold.

This year the parade celebrates its special anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day (Sunday, March 17, 2013), which sounds like a no-brainer, except for the fact that it customarily occurs on Sunday prior to the holiday to avoid conflict with Savannah, Georgia’s famous parade. That little quirk in scheduling also made it possible for the Budweiser Clydesdales, “always a favorite of spectators of all ages,” said parade director Kim Capin, to make a triumphant return to the island for the first time in years.

They’ll be joined on the Pope Avenue parade route by nine marching bands (including the Marine Corps Band and three pipe & drum bands),floats, and marchers from Lowcountry businesses and non-profit organizations, and an impressive list of dignitaries. Yes, the Shriners will be there too, lending their…ah…unique brand of entertainment, as always.

Brian Carmines, known locally as owner of the legendary Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks and for his benevolent work with the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation, will lead the way as Grand Marshal. “I was surprised and very flattered to be asked,” Carmines said. “It’s a great time of year for us, and there’s a lot to look forward too.”

Michael Iaquinta, presenting sponsor iSelectMD’s owner added, “We are very excited to be part of this parade and this community. We have had a lot of success since our launch in 2010, and this is such a great way to give back to our community.”

Michael Iaquinta, Brian Carmines and Tom Reilley

The march begins at 3 p.m. and will follow the usual route, working its way north up Pope Avenue, turning left on Office Park Road at the reviewing stand, and ending up in front of Park Plaza. Applications for commercial, civic, school, club and non-profit parade entries will be accepted until March 5. So hurry up and make sure to get your best green on, because the Parade Committee expects over 25,000 spectators to be watching, and will present “Best Float” awards in a number of categories. Hilton Head Go Bragh!

Details For parade entry information, visit and click “Parade Entry Form.” To volunteer, contact Gabrielle Van De Velde at (843) 422-7720 (,) or Frank Dunne, Jr. at (843) 684-5100 (

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