Between the upcoming dazzling Savor the Avenue and Boca Raton’s Boca Bacchanal and its Festival of the Arts (which starts this week), no one is talking about what may be the most fun party day of the year: the Delray St. Patty’s Day Parade. Sponsored this year by Park Tavern, the 45th Annual Delray Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday March 16 at 2 p.m. Unless you count the night before at the Pavilion at Center for the Arts, which will feature a “Celtic celebration.” Not to mention the hours before the parade on the lawn at Center for The Arts Saturday morning starting at 11 a.m., which will have food and bars and a general warm-up to the main event.
As was true last year, hundreds of firefighters from across the country and Canada will descend on Delray for the parade, along with bagpipe bands and floats, marching bands‑‑the works. You will see dogs dyed green, crazy hats, lots of Mardi gras beads, unicycles, maybe even the Sweet Potato Queens or the Sail Inn rocking school bus. You will undoubtedly see the mighty Man Of Steam, my personal favorite parade entry. In short, this is Florida’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade, which you would expect from the Most Fun Small Town in America. This year the parade will honor its founding father, Maury Power, as it should. Here’s the story, as summarized on the event web site (even though we know this by heart we never get tired of the tale):
“As legend would have it, 45 years ago, and spending his first St. Patrick’s Day in South Florida, Maury Power (whose family started Powers Lounge, now gone but not forgotten) lamented the lack of any local celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. With just a little encouragement from his pals and a bit of Irish whiskey, he took up the challenge to have an impromptu parade right then and there. Maury left for a few minutes, only to return with his top hat and shillelagh (some accounts have him carrying a pig) and began a solitary stroll up the middle of Atlantic Avenue (much to the delight of his drinking buddies and chuckling passersby). When questioned as to just what he thought he was doing, parading up the middle of the Avenue, his proud response was, “I’m having a parade!” Hundreds of thousands of people have attended the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Delray over the years, and it all started by one man’s decision!”
So in between all the glitz and glam and wine tastings and precious dining “by the bite” of other events over the next few weeks, don’t forget to get your green on and come downtown for the springtime parade of all parades. We’ll see you there in the same spot we always stake out: the hallowed ground by the tracks that used to front the venerable Powers’ Lounge.
You can’t watch the parade without a toast to Maury Powers first.