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St. Patrick's Day in Delray Beach started back in 1968...
When Maury Power sitting in an Irish Pub began to lament about the lack of any local St Patrick's Day celebration.
With just a little encouragement from his pals and probably a bit
too much Irish whiskey, he took up the challenge to have an impromptu
St. Patrick's Day parade right then and there.
Maury left for a few minutes, only to return with his green pig, top hat and shillelagh, he began his solitary stroll up the middle of famous 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 Atlantic 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!
Article from Palm Beach Post dated October 12, 1996
1968 - 1996: From the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1968 until Maury’s death in 1996, the Power’s family kept the tradition of the parade going every single year.
1997 - 2007: When Maury died, Ed Gallagher took it over until 2007 at which point, he turned it over to Nancy Stewart’s company Festival Management Team.
2007 - 2013: Festival Management ran the parade until May 2013, at which point it was turned over to John Fischer and his Code3 Events company.
2014 - 2018: St. Patrick’s Day March 2014 marked the first year for the parade to be run by Code3 Events. Code3 Events created a family atmosphere setting for this parade and brought International recognition, participants and spectators from all around the world. Code3 Events passed the torch to the city after the 2018 parade.
2019: The parade was taken over by the City of Delray Beach.
Even though 1968 was the beginning of the St. Patrick's day parade, history tells us that it was really born in 1970 with 6 float entries and $500 raised for charity.
Delray Beach St. Patrick's Day parade founder Maury Power and Dennis Gallagher, carrying the legendary green pig Pork Chop.
20th Annual St. Patrick's Parade on March 12, 1988
Photo Credit: Palm Beach Post
Tim Power and Petunia the pig walking down Atlantic Avenue during the 30th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Petunia is sporting green adornments rather than sporting her usual green dye at the
request of local animal rights activists.
30th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 14, 1998
Photo Credit: Greg Lovett / Palm Beach Post
Thousands of people line
Atlantic Avenue to see, touch, pet and photograph Petunia the pig!
Maury is never forgotten! Parade after parade....he is always remembered!
Petunia the pig started practicing her "parade walk" way back in 1995. She marched her 11th year in the 37th annual parade.
Her owner Kimberly Vislocky, owner of Kimberly’s Pet Grooming, said Petunia wore homemade green outfits topped off with a green tiara!
Petunia was a wild boar mix, purchased from the “Hole in the Wall” feed store in Delray for only $50. She weighed a mere 5 pounds and grew to an extraordinary 300 pounds!
She was well-cared for! Eating mac & cheese and drinking V8 juice and she preferred her pig food with a side of marinara sauce. And she enjoyed her medication every morning disguised in an ice cream sandwich. The perfect meal for a pig!
She died in December 2010 at 17 years old. She died in her sleep and was most likely covered with her $500 comforter.
I'm told that her replacement will be Patrick the pig in the following St. Patrick's Day parades.
The parade turns into a two-day event! Friday night starts the pre St. Patty's Day celebrations and festivities outdoors on the grounds of Delray Beach Center for the Arts.
Local Delray Beach artist, Dana Donaty with Donaty Designs was the chosen artist for the parade poster for 2013.
Mayor Glickstein was quoted as saying, “We need to get it back to a more family-oriented event.”
“The first step is the alcohol. That’s a nightmare for the police. And allowing open containers doesn’t help our merchants that sell alcohol.”
It costs about $25,000 - $30,000 to operate the parade. It hasn’t always been easy to keep it afloat. Past organizers of the parade, including the daughter of Maury Power, have handed over the reins, saying they could not make money on the event.
City Manager, Bob Barcinski.
This is how crowded Atlantic Avenue gets on St. Patrick's Day. In the past, it has drawn crowds of approximately 100,000 to 150,000. So be prepared!
Photo Credit: Georgia Handy Photography
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