Kelly’s St. Patty’s Day Parade Highlights Best of Outer Banks

Parade Honors Spirit of Joy
The South Nags Head Beach Chair Drill Team proving they can perform somewhat precise movements.
The South Nags Head Beach Chair Drill Team proving they can perform somewhat precise movements.

As dawn broke the outlook for the 29th Annual Mike Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade seemed ominous—a driving rain with 20 mph winds would have made it difficult to hold the annual celebrations of all things Irish.

But then the clouds parted and the sun came out. It was windy along the parade route in Nags Head, and the marchers were walking directly into the north wind, but that didn’t change the fact it was a glorious day to be on the Outer Banks.

This year was a little bit special.

The Parade Marshall the Grand Poobah Ernie Bridgers. Ernie was the genius behind the South Nags Head White Trash Marching Band and Beach Chair Drill Team.

If ever there was a group that defined the marvelous insanity of the Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, it was the Beach Chair Drill Team.

Marching to the rat-a-tat-tat of the drum cadence on trash cans, producing an occasional tune with kazoos and actually performing something that resembled a precision drill with beach chairs, Ernie’s creation brought a smile every time.

Unfortunately Ernie passed way last year. But the Drill team was back as good as ever and in a fitting tribute to Ernie, every member of the team carried an image of him as they marched down the street.

Of course the Drill Team is just one part of what is a remarkable and wonderful tribute to the spirit of the Outer Banks.

There is the unicycle riding trumpet player who jumps rope—although this year the wind seemed to be giving his rope jumping fits. There are the dogs dressed up in the finest green. And antique cars…fire trucks, and floats of every description.

Billed as the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in eastern North Carolina, it maybe it is….probably is…but no matter what there cannot be another one the is so much fun.