The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Participants let nothing rain on their parade

Maybe the luckiest group at Oak Harbor’s 44th St. Patrick’s Day Parade was the high school drumline.

The group got its signals crossed and arrived an hour before the parade’s starting time. But instead of waiting in the rain, the students marched down Pioneer Way for a solo performance, passing parade organizers Mike Thelen and Bill Ferry along the way, then headed for drier ground.

An hour later, the other 44 parade entries shook off the wetness, started in motion and didn’t appear to let the soggy weather rain on their parade.

People proud of their Irish heritage joined in holding clan signs.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Thelen, chair of the Irish Wildlife Society, the event’s promoter. “This is going to create memories. People will remember this one.”

Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, didn’t let the rain dampen his spirits.

Nor did parade grand marshal Lance Gibbon, superintendent of Oak Harbor Public Schools. He came dressed for the occasion wearing a green suit and hat — both covered with shamrocks.

“It’s truly an Irish suit, although it’s not the highest quality,” Gibbon said. “It’s very fine polyester, which is working well today because it’s water proof.”

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, with parade organizer Mike Thelen at the 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, with parade organizer Mike Thelen at the 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

The 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, with parade grand marshal Lance Gibbon, superintendent of Oak Harbor Public Schools, at the 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, with parade grand marshal Lance Gibbon, superintendent of Oak Harbor Public Schools, at the 44th Oak Harbor St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2017. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

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