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St. Patrick’s Day Parade to march Saturday

March 14, 2012
By BOB PETCHER, , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

From shrimp to shamrocks, it's time to celebrate another event with another parade.

The 14th annual Town of Fort Myers Beach St. Patrick's Day Parade will take place Saturday, March 17, with a 10 a.m. start at Santini Marina Plaza. This procession follows last Saturday's 54th annual Beach Lions Shrimp Festival Parade.

Those interested in participating in the Luck O' The Irish parade on the south end of Estero Island are asked to gather in the plaza parking lot between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

Former Beach Mayor and known Irishman Ray Murphy is once again the parade chairman. He noted a nominal fee would be charged to parade entries that are not nonprofit organizations to cover overhead costs. No other 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 to Lanark Street north of the "S" curve at roughly 9:50 a.m. Murphy said the procession would end at the Church of the Ascension parking lot at roughly 11 a.m.

"We'll be marching north on Estero Boulevard one mile to the church 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."

After the parade, Murphy said Knights of Columbus members will be selling corned beef and cabbage sandwiches, hot dogs and refreshments in the church parking lot.

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 great, sunny day in the low 80s," said Murphy. "We expect to have a bigger turnout since it is a Saturday and all the school kids are out. So come early and get a place along the boulevard to watch the parade.

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, neighborhood groups as well as the Lee County Pipe and Drum Corps involved in the ceremonial occasion which honors Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

For more information, questions or late entrants, contact Murphy at his business at 591-8803 before Friday at 5 p.m.

"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," he said.



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