Parade organizers arrive early to prepare for marching. Ivy Ashe

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday morning in Edgartown was cold and overcast, with rain puddling in the streets and pooling off umbrellas. A typical March day on the Vineyard, but not exactly the weather organizers of the fourth annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade had hoped for. Newes Pub general manager John Robert Hill had two outfits ready to go for the parade, and on seeing the skies decided to go with the rain outfit (this featured a warm sweater).

Still, cancelling the parade wouldn’t be in the Irish spirit, and at eleven o’clock a hardy group had already gathered at the corner of Mayhew Lane and Dock street. Bagpiper Dave Cahill, visiting from New York, tuned up in the parking lot. Bundled-up onlookers tucked into the store entryways along Dock street as the drizzly rain continued. Mr. Hill handed out green beaded necklaces and balloons, and Irish flags were given out. A toddler splashed in the puddles before being guided away by his dad. “It’s a glorious day!” someone announced.
More onlookers gathered, and just before 11:25 the parade kicked off, with Mr. Cahill and fellow bagpiper Tony Peak leading the way. Never mind that bagpipes are Scottish; this parade is simply about celebrating and having fun. It’s a way for the Newes and the Kelley House to give back to the community, Mr. Hill said.

The group marched one block down Dock street before turning up Kelley street to their final destination, where people clapped loudly. A recording of Irish music began to play as the bagpipers slipped inside the Newes to warm their hands. More flags and beads were handed out, and the kids in the parade backtracked to the Chappy Room of the Kelley House, where a Family Dance-o-Rama party, complete with pin-the-shamrock-on-the-leprechaun and cookie decorating, awaited.

And, of course, a couple of pots of gold.


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