Irish pride flows through Oak Harbor

For a couple of hours Monday afternoon, everybody was Irish.

People of all ages and backgrounds descended on downtown Oak Harbor for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The lighthearted event included the Buccaneers from the Oak Harbor Yacht Club, people dressed in green, complete with green hair, beards, feathered boas, and anything else to make the walk down Pioneer Way to Windjammer Park enjoyable.

"It's a fun day. Everyone's having a good time," said Chuck King, member of the Oak Harbor Yacht Club's Buccaneers. He put an Irish twist to his pirate costume by donning a wig of green tightly-curled hair.

In addition to the pirate ship, the infamous Crab Queens, several color guards, and members of Irish families also joined in the festivities. Monday marked the parade's 35th anniversary. Mike Thelan was the grand marshal.

While at the park, people listened to a town proclamation, a prayer by David Lura, pastor of First United Methodist Church, and recognition of veterans who served their country.

Throughout the proclamation, Helen Chatfield-Weeks led the crowd with numerous spirited renditions of "Hip hip hooray."

What St. Patrick's Day event would be complete without a visit to the ol' Blarney Stone? The venerable rock, located next to the windmill, was cleaned earlier in the day to prepare it for the lips of the town's leaders. Rumors suggested the lickable rock was cleaned with Guinness.

Newly-elected Mayor Jim Slowik and Capt. Gerral David, who took command of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station last July, took turns kissing the stone. Hopefully they both will get endowed with the gift of gab, if they didn't already have it.

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