Holidays

☘️ Hilton Head St. Patrick’s Day Parade guide: Parking, parties, traffic and what to know

Tips for attending Hilton Head’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

If you are heading to the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Hilton Head Island, make sure to watch this video first.
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If you are heading to the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Hilton Head Island, make sure to watch this video first.

Hilton Head is home to the state’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and this year the celebration earned a special proclamation from Gov. Henry McMaster who praised the event.

For the first time in years, the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on the actual holiday, and an estimated crowd of 30,000 will flood Pope Avenue and the surrounding area to get their green on.

“It keeps getting bigger every year,” Lynne Hummell, spokesperson for the event, said.

The Island Packet’s own David Lauderdale will take the center stage as the Parade’s Grand Marshal. The parade kicks off at 3 p.m near the Coligny parking lot.

The parade started in 1983 as an “inaugural short march by a small group of friends” to a massive community celebration for all ages, stretching across Hilton Head’s south end.

Before you head to the parade, here’s your unofficial guide for parking, parties and everything in between.

☘️ Parking

Parking is very limited, especially considering the construction along Pope Avenue, so be sure to come early and prepare to walk. Because the Coligny lot is closed for the parade, there is no official public parking for the event

Parade officials recommend starting at New Orleans Road and parking in front of closed businesses (37 New Orleans for example). University of South Carolina Beaufort and Park Plaza on Office Park Road are also good places to start looking.

Hummell recommends getting to the parade around noon or earlier to get a great spot and grab lunch. Pope Avenue will be closed at 2 p.m. to vehicles, so it’s best to get there before to avoid traffic congestion.

☘️ Parade Route

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The parade begins near Coligny Circle and ends at Park Plaza. The 1.2-mile route is straight down Pope Avenue, then it will turn on Office Park Road. With all the construction on Pope Avenue, the parade’s starting point might be adjusted, according to the event’s Facebook page.

☘️ What’s different this year?

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Photos taken on Saturday afternoon during the 35th annual Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday afternoon on Pope Avenue on Hilton Head. Delayna Earley dearley@islandpacket.com

The Budweiser Clydesdales will unfortunately not be making an appearance at the parade, Hummell said.

But there is still plenty to get excited for. The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile and the Mr. Peanut float will make special appearances at the parade, along with cool cars, marching bands, adoptable dogs and more.

☘️ Where to party

Irish is the second most common ancestry in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But how do the numbers look for Beaufort County? Hint: One town in the area actually claims to have more Irish ancestry than any other.

Hilton Head’s entire south end comes alive Sunday for the parade, with just about all of the big restaurants and bars along Pope Avenue host their own parties. Here are a few places with live music to check out:

Mandy Matney is an award-winning journalist and self-proclaimed shark enthusiast from Kansas. She worked for newspapers in Missouri and Illinois before she realized Midwestern winters are horrible, then moved to Hilton Head in 2016. She is the breaking news editor at the Island Packet.


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