Myrtle Beach area goes green for St. Patrick’s Day

03/14/2013 12:00 AM

03/16/2013 10:17 AM

Don’t blame anyone for going green this whole weekend, because St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday this year, and the biggest shamrock-themed shindigs happen on Saturday.

Besides the 25th annual North Myrtle Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival and fourth annual Irish Festival in Myrtle Beach’s Valor Memorial Garden, the Oceanfront Merchants Association will have its fourth St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Ocean Boulevard by the former Pavilion Amusement Park site. Savannah rock band Passafire will round out the day of concerts, too.

Chris Walker, president of the association, said the block of beachfront boulevard between Eighth and Ninth avenues North will be the headquarters for all the activities.

In past years, a stage was set up at Mr. Joe White Avenue by Myrtle Beach’s Plyler Park, Walker said, but vehicular traffic during the 2013 party will be detoured only around one block.

“This year,” he said, “all of our events are down there, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, and on the old Pavilion site.”

About the only other difference Walker brought up for the celebration is the increase in the number of vendors, amid a festival all concentrated in this section of Ocean Boulevard.

“This should seem like a street festival,” he said, “with more vendors and more going on.”

With this party leading into St. Pat’s Day on Sunday, after the 2012 affair falling on a Saturday, Walker said officials are ready for another good-size crowd.

Walker also said two pipe bands – the Myrtle Beach Regional Pipe and Drum Band and the New York Shields Police Pipes and Drums – will take turns entertaining between other groups, giving those acts time to set up and dismantle their sets.

Both of those pipe bands also will take part in the North Myrtle Beach festival earlier in the day.

Bill McMillen, the drum major for the Shields’ pipes and drums, recited Monday afternoon its times to play Saturday in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach this weekend. He said about 15 musicians – playing bagpipes, and snare, tenor and bass drums – will travel to the Grand Strand with six or seven color-guard members.

Besides playing “The Minstrel Boy” and “Wearing of the Green,” the Shields – carrying on the heritage of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums and the Irish Warpipe Band in New York – also honor service personnel with such numbers as the “Marine Corps Hymn,” which are especially popular in Memorial Day parades in which the Shields take part, McMillen said.

The Shields, which also play at weddings, range in age from 26, McMillen’s son, to 73, giving the group a foothold in carrying on a tradition.

The group already has Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend already booked for parades, near home, in the Maspeth neighborhood in western Queens, N.Y., and in Oyster Bay, on Long Island.

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