Lura’s luck o’ the Irish strikes Oak Harbor

The Oak Harbor Irish Wildlife Society named Colleen Lura as grand marshal of the 37th annual parade.  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
The Oak Harbor Irish Wildlife Society named Colleen Lura as grand marshal of the 37th annual parade.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

The Irish Wildlife Society named Colleen Lura the 37th annual Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade grand marshal.

The half-Irish, half-Norwegian lass is the wife of Pastor David Lura of the First Untied Methodist Church in Oak Harbor.

Being a pastor’s wife is almost like a full time job, she said, although she still makes time for her real job as the Bereavement and Spiritual Care Counselor and Volunteer Coordinator for Home Health and Hospice of Whidbey General Hospital, a position she’s held for the past 19 years.

An opening at the First United Methodist Church brought Colleen and David to Oak Harbor from Edmonds in 1987. The Lura family also includes 20-year-old son Danny.

Colleen fondly reflected on her Irish roots this week after her appointment as parade grand marshal.

Her father, James Purcell, was an Irishman through and through and Colleen remembers him as a fun-loving, kind, happy person. He chose the name of the family’s first-born, Patricia. Colleen followed, and then came the third child, Barbara.

“I think my mom, who was all Norwegian, was finally able to name my younger sister because her name is ‘Barbara,’” Colleen joked. “There’s nothing Irish about the name Barbara.”

Although Colleen isn’t certain on the date her father’s side of the family immigrated from Ireland, two notable places often peppered family conversation, that of Tipperary and Galway.

“When I was a grade school girl taking piano lessons, the one piece of sheet music my Irish grandmother gave me was ‘Galway Bay,’ a well-known song in the Irish circles,” she reminisced. “I remember being so proud to be able to play it for her.”

Other favorite family memories include Irish-infused song-a-longs with Aunt Eva on piano, which may be why Colleen can hardly wait for the post-parade celebration at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club.

The gathering includes corned beef and cabbage, dessert and a hearty sing-a-long.

The dinner follows the parade and ceremonial Blarney Stone kissing at Windjammer Park near the windmill. Children should be on the look-out for leprechauns. The crafty, green guys will be scattered throughout the parade route and at the Blarney Stone celebration. The first child to catch a cunning leprechaun and present it to Lura will earn a crisp $5 bill.

This year’s celebration may mark the last St. Patrick’s Day parade down the “old” Pioneer Way, at least for a while. Next year the street will likely be under construction and an alternative route may need to suffice.

37th annual St. Patrick’s Day

Here’s what will be happening in Oak Harbor on St. Patrick’s Day.

When: Annual parade Tuesday, March 17, at 4 p.m.

Where: Parade participants will line up at 3:30 p.m. at Jensen St. and SE Pioneer Way (next to “Smith Park on Midway Blvd.) and march down Pioneer Way.

Afterward: Blarney Stone ceremonial kissing at Windjammer Park, next to the windmill. Pastor David Lura will present awards and prizes given to the most creative participants.

Also: Sing-a-long at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club, free.

Irish fare: Upper level, Oak Harbor Yacht Club

Cost: $12 per plate.

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