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St. Pat’s Parade names its leaders

Pat and Patty McKinnon were named grand marshals for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17. - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Pat and Patty McKinnon were named grand marshals for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17.
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

Pat and Patty McKinnon will celebrate their Irish heritage with waves and smiles as the grand marshals of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Grab some green face paint and shamrocks and celebrate at the parade at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 17 in Oak Harbor.

The parade will head west on Pioneer Way to the windmill and Blarney Stone.

“I’m very happy to be Irish. I like being Irish. But it’s best at St. Patrick’s Day,” Patty McKinnon said.

The longtime Oak Harbor residents traveled to Ireland a few years ago. Patty is three-quarters Irish and Pat is one-quarter Irish.

“It was beautiful. We were a little surprised it was so modernized,” Patty McKinnon said.

Patty McKinnon’s maiden name is McAuliffe. Her grandmother traveled from Ireland to the United States on the last voyage of the Lusitania before it was sunk by the Germans in World War I. At the time, her grandmother was 15 years old and on her own. Patty McKinnon also had a grandfather who was born in Ireland.

Pat McKinnon came to Oak Harbor in 1960 as a naval flight officer for the  Navy and Patty McKinnon came in 1977.

Both of the McKinnons taught at Oak Harbor High School, which is where they met. Pat taught math for 17 years and Patty taught English for 24 years.

Pat McKinnon enjoys his hobby of sailing and has competed in Race Week since its beginning on sailboats like Isle of Skye, named after the home of the McKinnon clan in Scotland.

Patty McKinnon enjoys cooking, reading and gardening and does some professional catering.

With a list of guests coming to Oak Harbor for the parade that includes names like Eileen, Maureen, Kathleen, Erin and Patrick, the McKinnons and family are celebrating everything Irish next weekend.

“The Irish were in Oak Harbor before the Dutch!” Pat McKinnon said.

Follow the shamrocks painted by Oak Harbor Irish Wildlife Society members downtown to wave at the McKinnons in a Whidbey Cruzers convertible, followed by the Oak Harbor Community Band, the Crab Queens, Whidbey YaYas, Oak Harbor High School Key Club and cheerleaders. Following will be a ceremony featuring prizes and songs by Paul Kuzina and the Men’s Choir. Master of Ceremonies is Jim Ryan. The Blarney Stone is ready to be kissed.

The parade is sponsored by the Oak Harbor Irish Wildlife Society.

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