Five Irish parades: Who organizes them?

Biloxi

@BR Body bold Lede colon:About the organization: Hibernia Marching Society of Mississippi was started by a faithful group of Coast Irish-Americans who would meet every St. Paddy’s Day at Mary Mahoney’s restaurant in Biloxi. In 1978 they formed the club and had the first walking parade on Vieux Marché Mall. Today it travels the streets of downtown Biloxi, which paints green road stripes for the big floats, marching groups and bands and occasional horse-drawn buggy. The society fosters Irish culture and history.

About the parade: The 32nd annual Hibernia Marching Society’s St. Patrick Day parade is 2 p.m. Saturday in Biloxi. This is a big parade, known for interesting throws (such as green beads and real potatoes and cabbage), music and good family fun. Details: 396-4896; HiberniaMarchingSociety.com.

About the grand marshal: State Sen. Billy Hewes was elected by his colleagues as president pro tempore and is serving his fifth Senate term. By profession he is an insurance agent and real estate broker with his family agency in Gulfport. He and wife Paula live in Gulfport with four children, Katie, Sarah Margaret, Gardner and Sam.

About the colleen: Sarah-Gant Holleman is a University of Mississippi graduate student earning a master’s degree in counseling and is a graduate of Gulfport High. Her parents are Dean and Laura Holleman of Gulfport and she is granddaughter to the late Boyce and Annie Louise Holleman and the late Charles and Beverly Angel, all of Gulfport, and Brig. Gen. Slater and Nancy Hollis of Palm Harbor, Fla.

Diamondhead

@BR Body bold Lede colon:About the organization: The Diamondhead Celtic Society formed in 2008 to promote Celtic culture, community service and camaraderie of its members. It is the newest group on the Coast to sponsor an Irish parade.

About the parade: The second annual Diamondhead St. Patrick’s Day parade is 6 p.m. Friday in Diamondhead. The parade is mostly decorated golf carts and convertibles. Phone: 342-1884.

About the grand marshal: Patrick (McNamee) Read is a full-time student at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College who will soon attend Mississippi State University to study meteorology. His family members are Scott and Cindy McNamee, sister Jamie Read and grandmother Joyce Gross.

About the colleen: Margaret Erin Magers has a 2007 degree in business management/marketing from University of Southern Mississippi and works as reservations and revenue manager at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans. She is the daughter of Steve and Victoria Magers of Diamondhead, and great-granddaughter of Sophie Carrick and Jane Cassidy.

Gulfport

@BR Body bold Lede colon:About the organization: This parade first rolled in 1985, sponsored by east Gulfport merchants. In 1990 the Mississippi Coast Chapter of Quota International took over sponsorship. Quota is known for service to the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired and this year’s special guest is Quota International president Rosemary Hannie of Baton Rouge.

About the parade: The 25th annual Shenanigans parade is 2 p.m. March 14 in downtown Gulfport. This family event has floats and marching groups, a likeness of St. Patrick and Quota’s Deaf Community Champion and the Youth Embracing Service Youth of the Year. Details: 594-3719, 432-1878 or papril@mscoastcoliseum.com; http://www.quotams.com.

About the grand marshal: Bob Taylor is owner of Gulf Coast Restaurant Group, which includes High Cotton, Half Shell Oyster House and The Quarter. The Florida transplant lives in Gulfport with his wife, Beth, and son, Zack. He has been active in helping the Coast rebuild after Katrina.

About the colleen: Callie Mechelle Harriel of Kiln is a technology intern for Digital Opportunity Trusts, involved in a grant that assists school districts implement technology into daily lessons. She is the daughter of Barbara and David Harriel and sister to Alex Mayer and Ethan Harriel. Her grandparents are Mary Foretich and the late Pat Foretich.

Pass Christian

@BR Body bold Lede colon:About the organization: Pass Christian is proud to restart the popular and very down-home Krewe of Blarney walking parade, postponed since Katrina claimed much of downtown. This parade, first held in 1995, invites anyone who wants to join in by walking, riding a golf cart or pulling a wagon.

@BR Body bold Lede colon:About the parade: The Krewe of Blarney Halfast Walkin’ Klub parade is noon Saturday. One of the unusual aspects of this parade is it makes stops and toasts at businesses along the walking route. The parade will end at French Charley’s, which will be serving traditional Irish food. Details: 547-4873; or roraff@cableone.net.

About the grand marshal: Pass Christian attorney Donald J. Rafferty is married to the former Susan Israel; they have three daughters and one granddaughter.

About the colleen: Pass Christian High senior Corey McGee is the daughter of James and Shawna Campbell McGee of Pass Christian.

Waveland

@BR Body bold Lede colon:About the organization: The Waveland Civic Association stages the oldest Coast Irish parade. The association formed to stage a St. Paddy’s parade but the group now has year-round community activities. It began in 1964 when a group meeting in Villere’s Bar on Coleman Avenue decided they needed to do more than toast Ireland. Their colleen is always a high school junior chosen for grades and community activity.

About the parade: The 46th annual Waveland St. Patrick’s Day parade is 2 p.m. Saturday. This parade is known for its green throws but also for “food” throws, such as cabbage and carrots to make an Irish stew, and chips and corn bread to go with it. Details: 671-9570 or 216-0357.

About the grand marshal: Alfred “Tiger” Harris of Waveland is a retired union electrician and U.S. Marine, a veteran of the Vietnam War. His wife of 39 years is Donna Harrison, and two sons are Alfred Jr. and Jerry.

About the colleen: Rachel Nicole Sims of Bay St. Louis is an 11th-grader and honor-roll student at Bay High. Her parents are Jonathan Sims and Sherrie Sims of Bay St. Louis and her sister is Mindy Dobson.

By KAT BERGERON – kbergeron@sunherald.com

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