Ocean City, Maryland – (February 20, 2017): Ocean City will be glowing in green as the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, sponsored by the Delmarva Irish-American Club, marches down Coastal Highway on Saturday, March 17. This Ocean City tradition, which began in 1980, has grown to become the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the state, in addition to becoming a seasonal kick-off for many local businesses.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade brings the sounds of Ireland to the streets of Ocean City with pipe and drum bands, festively decorated floats sponsored by local businesses, groups and organizations, and local high school marching bands. Leading the parade will be Grand Marshal John Staley.
The procession begins at noon at 57th Street and marches south on Coastal Highway to the 45th Street Shopping Center, where the viewing and judging stands will be located. Trophies will be awarded for best marching band, best commercial float, best non-commercial float, best motorized unit, best adult marching unit, best youth marching unit, special committee award, judges’ choice award and best overall entry in the parade.
In addition to the procession on the street, the 45th Street Shopping Center will once again be transformed into a spirited Irish festival complete with live entertainment from Kevin O’Brennan and the Shoreline Band, Irish apparel, raffles and plenty of food and drink. Spectators can enjoy the free-admission festival beginning at 11 a.m. and running until 3 p.m.
To avoid traffic delays, viewers are urged to arrive before 10:30 a.m. and to view the parade from 57th Street south to 45th Street.
Local NBC affiliate WRDE and the Delmarva Irish-American Club are again partnering to broadcast the annual parade and festival on Saturday, March 17, including a live stream at www.wrde.com, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Cozi TV will rebroadcast the parade on Sunday, March 18. WRDE can be found on channel 9 or 809 on Comcast and Mediacom; channel 31 on DirecTV and Dish, and over the air at 31.1. Cozi TV is on Comcast channel 204, Mediacom channel 99, and over the air at 31.2.
The Delmarva Irish-American Club was founded in 1980. The first membership drive resulted in 75 members; today, the membership totals approximately 300 and is open to anyone who is Irish, of Irish descent or just likes things Irish. The club has awarded approximately $300,000 for scholarships to local students from the proceeds of previous parades.
For more information, visit www.delmarvairish.org or contact Buck Mann at 410-289-6156.
Biography and photo of the Grand Marshal: John Staley
John Staley and his wife Pat, along with their youngest son Greg, moved to Ocean City in the summer of 1984.
Since then, John has accumulated a long list of civic and charitable accomplishments.
From vice president of the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore in the 1980s to his recent retirement after 27 years from the Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission, John has been a stalwart in the Ocean City community.
Over the past 34 years as a resident of Ocean City, he has been a member of the Chambers of Commerce in Ocean City and Salisbury, the Ocean City Lions Club, VFW and Elks and served as past president of the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees.
In 1996, John ran for Mayor of Ocean City. In 2007, he was named Ocean City Citizen of the Year. Last summer, his youthful face at age 17 hung on the boardwalk as one of our Hometown Heroes for his service during World War II.
John was born in Dundalk, the sixth of eight siblings. While still in high school, he joined the Navy. After the war, John returned to school and graduated from Mt. St. Joe in Baltimore, then Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He married Pat Crowley and raised five children. He had a long career with the C&P Telephone Company in Baltimore, which took him to Easton, then Bel Air and Salisbury. He chose Ocean City as his home when he accepted the position of government and community relations manager of the Lower Eastern Shore.
Currently, John resides in Ocean City with his daughter Valerie. He is a parishioner and trustee at St. Luke’s Catholic Church and a longtime member of the Delmarva Irish-American Club and Ancient Order of Hibernians. John is a true Irishman. His mother was born in County Waterford and immigrated here in the early 1900s.
John and Pat — who sadly passed away in 2002 — were grand marshals of the 15th annual St Patrick’s Day Parade. His five children, their spouses and families all plan to attend this year’s parade. John is honored that the Delmarva Irish-American Club has chosen him to once again represent them as grand marshal.