Nothing beats a parade except for a second parade within a week's time.
From shrimp to shamrocks, it's time to celebrate again. The 13th annual Town of Fort Myers Beach St. Patrick's Day Parade will take place tomorrow (Thursday, March 17) with a 10 a.m. start at Santini Marina Plaza.
Those interested in participating in this parade on the south end of Estero Island are asked to assemble in the plaza parking lot between 8:30 and 9 a.m.
Known Irishman Ray Murphy is once again the parade chairman and anticipates clear skies and Irish thirsts on St. Patty's Day. No changes from the yearly format are expected.
"The format is pretty much the same," he said. "There are only two kinds of people in the world on that day -the Irish and those that want to be."
Traffic will be stopped from the plaza on the south end to Lanark Street near the "S" curve on the northern end. Murphy said the procession will end at the Catholic church parking lot at roughly 11 a.m.
"We'll be marching north on Estero Boulevard one mile to the Church of the Ascension parking lot," said Murphy. "Since traffic is stopped on the boulevard for that one hour, residents should plan ahead if they need to leave the island that morning."
If you didn't have enough of the shrimp festival parade, this is another opportunity to march, ride in a float or watch from the sidewalks. Just be sure to wear something green.
"It's supposed to be a beautiful day, which will warm up to the low- to mid-80s with blue skies," said Murphy. "We expect to have a good turnout with all the families that are down now and the spring breakers."
Like most St. Patty's Day parades of past years, Murphy said one can expect to see color guards, floats, musical bands and civic, business and neighborhood groups involved in the ceremonial occasion which honors Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
"You can expect to see the Lee County Pipe and Drum Corps again this year," he said. "They are always one of featured performers and a crowd favorite.
"We are hoping everybody comes out and has a good time on St. Patrick's Day. This is a nice, little way to celebrate St. Patrick."
Once the parade is over, here are a few places to continue the Irish holiday. The listing, compiled by Beach Bulletin Melissa Schneider, is from south to north.
n Castaways, 7205 Estero Blvd., 463-4644
While in Santini Marina Plaza, Castaways will be kicking off their celebration early, offering a free continental breakfast at 8 a.m., just before the parade. At 9 a.m., bag-pipers and a drum corp will make a Celtic salute, and other local musicians, including Mike Hennessy, the New Vinyls, Flash Forward and The Good, Bad and Funky, will entertain all day.
Cute Caroline will be dressed in her sexy leprechaun outfit at a special bar in front of the restaurant, and green margarita Jell-o shots, $3 bloody marys and mimosa specials will be offered throughout the day, along with yummy corned beef and cabbage.
Also, little Avery Adkins, whom Castaway's has held fund-raisers for in the past, will be the little Irish Princess aboard the float, as her birthday is March 17, 2007.
n The Lani Kai, 1400 Estero Blvd., 463-3111
The Lani Kai will be offering drink specials all day throughout St. Patty's Day. Enjoy special corned beef and cabbage dinners in the Island View Lounge and on the sundeck all day, and of course, the Cincinnati Firemen will be entertaining with their hour-long shows, along with live music all day on the beachfront and on the sundeck.
n The Beached Whale, 1249 Estero Blvd., 463-5505
Be sure to stop by The Beached Whale for live music that night with the Drunk Monkeys, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., and St. Patty's Day food and drink specials offered throughout the day.
The Surf Club, 1167 Estero Blvd., 463-9256
The Surf Club will be serving up hot and fresh corned beef and cabbage dinners all day long, along with a great happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., including $2 domestics, $3 wells and $3 house wines, and awesome St. Patty's Day party favors.
n The Yucatan, 250 Old San Carlos Blvd., 333-4FUN
The Yucatan will be holding its third annual St. Patty's Day Bash, complete with more than 30 vendors in the parking lot, cabbage bowling, live music, giveaways and more, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.
"We will have the largest St. Patty's Day party on the island, benefitting our local CERT Team," said Stephen DeAngelis, general manager of the Yucatan. "There will be lots of green beer, corned beef and cabbage, several promos and tons of giveaways all day."
The Naples Harp and Thistle Pipe and Drum Band will spin Celtic music into the air, along with the Kellyn Celtic Arts Dance Academy moving their feet, DL Turner, Scott Alan the Island Doctor and live DJs mixing it up.
"Special thanks to the United Irish of Southwest Florida, for bringing the party to the Yucatan after the parade on the south end of the island floats and all," Stephen said. "Plus, we'll have over $5,000 in raffle prizes to give away throughout the event, so come on down!"
More than $5,000 in raffle prizes will be given away, including an autographed baseball by Boston Red Sox team captain Jason Varitek.
n Nervous Nellie's,1131 1st St., 463-8077
Sponsored by Guinness, Nervous Nellie's is having one heck of a St. Patty's Day bash, featuring live music all day from Celtic Stew, The Oysters, The Local Volunteers and The Juice. Guinness will be set up all day offering specials and giveaways, as well as Guinness Happy Hour, featuring all-day specials on Guinness drafts and Irish whiskeys.
"Be sure to delve into our famous corned beef and cabbage plates and shepherds pie, all made fresh from scratch in our kitchen. Last year, we went through 1,200 pounds of corned beef and a whole lot of shepherds pie," said Rob DeGennaro, Nervous Nellie's owner. "And we'll have happy hour upstairs in Ugly's all day, from noon on into the night. It's going to be a lot of fun!"
Of course, there's no charge to enter, and free marina dockage is offered all year round at the establishment.
n Doc Ford's, ,708 Fisherman's Wharf, 765-9660
Enjoy a "St. Paddy's on the Beach" party all day at Doc Ford's, with green beer flowing, and the Boys of County Lee playing high-energy Celtic music from 7 to 10 p.m.
--listing compiled by Melissa Schneider