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Date of Issue: March 11, 2009

St. Patrick's Day events planned

One island has the Gulf to the west and Anna Maria Sound to the east.

One island has the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Irish Sea to the east.

Both Islands will see St. Patrick’s Day celebrations next week, just on different scales.

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish.

Ireland is the site of the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but the world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parades took place in Boston in 1761 and in New York City in 1762.

Anna Maria Island will celebrate the holiday with a parade on March 15 and a breakfast on March 17. Islanders can also expect to find green beer or Guinness at some local bars and corned beef and cabbage at some local restaurants.

The first Island St. Patrick’s Day event is the annual parade sponsored by the Beach Bistro.

The parade will take place in Holmes Beach at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 15, and will feature local high school bands, a highland pipe band, local musicians and numerous floats.

The parade will assemble at 2 p.m. at the Tidemark Marina parking lot near the intersection of Gulf and Marina drives in Holmes Beach.

At about 4 p.m., the parade will begin, traveling north along Marina Drive and Palm Avenue to 81st Street.

The parade is open to anyone who wants to participate, while motorists are asked to detour around the event using Gulf Drive.

On Tuesday, March 17, the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Breakfast will take place at the Moose Lodge.

The breakfast, sponsored by The Islander, will feature Irish tunes, Irish tales, Irish dance and the naming of the Irishman or Irishwoman of the year.

The celebrating will begin for those with tickets at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the lodge, 110 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach,. The event sold out last Wednesday.