History of Hilton Head St. Patrick’s Day parade

By Tyler Manion

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 6:53 PM EST

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - The Hilton Head St. Patrick’s Parade is the oldest in the entire state of South Carolina, with a history that goes back decades.

“They just happened to decide to bring a few folks and a couple of cars and a little mini fire truck down the street. Unfortunately, they didn’t think it was a parade it was just a bunch of people going down the street. The police however felt that, hmm where’s your permit,” HHI St. Patrick’s Committee co-chair Gabrielle Muething said.

The story that started it all 39 years ago. Since they’ve gotten the permits and made the parade official with this year marking the island’s 37th parade.

“It’s always been a passion of giving back to the community and it really speaks a lot about Hilton Head and why it’s such a great place because of the people. So, we have a duty to carry that forward,” HHI St. Patrick’s Committee co-chair Alan Perry said.

Both co-chairs say over the years there’s been countless memories made, but a favorite?

“Tom Reilly, the founder, riding on the wagon... that was amazing!”

Through all the years of growth and recent cancellation, she says one thing has remained the same.

“This is one thing that brings every single family from all states around there are people that rent houses here just because they want to see the parade.”

Featured prominently each year are the grand marshals, honored for their charitable work in the community but for the first time this year the festivities themselves will raise money for the area.

Specifically, Saturday night’s Irish concert will benefit the Island Rec Association Scholarship Fund. The next day the traditional parade itself kicks off at 3 p.m. from Celebration Park, making its return after a two year hiatus.

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