65,000 flock to Ocean View for Norfolk's St. Patrick's Day parade

65,000 Revelers Gather in Ocean View for Norfolk’s Vibrant St. Patrick’s Day Parade

In Norfolk, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ocean View was a sight to behold this Saturday, drawing a crowd of over 65,000 people. Event organizers hailed it as one of the finest iterations of the parade to date.

Since its inception in 1968, the parade has become a staple of the community. However, it faced setbacks in recent years due to the pandemic leading to cancellations in 2020 and 2021, and bad weather spoiling the event in 2022. Despite these challenges, the parade made a comeback last year, albeit under less-than-ideal weather conditions. This year, attendees were treated to clear skies and warm sunshine, a welcome change that added to the festive atmosphere.

Shelby Fryman, a local from Ocean View and a regular at the parade, recalled how last year’s cold almost got the better of her. This year, she found the weather to be just perfect for the occasion.

Norfolk’s Sheriff Joe Baron, who had the honor of being the grand marshal this year, couldn’t help but praise the beautiful weather. He emphasized the parade’s significance in kicking off Norfolk’s calendar of major events and shared his excitement and surprise at being chosen for the role.

The parade was a vibrant display of green, with attendees donning everything from leprechaun hats and green suits to hula skirts and kilts. The streets were lined with groups setting up tents and folding chairs, enjoying green-themed treats and drinks as they soaked in the festive atmosphere.

The parade route stretched approximately 1.5 miles, starting from Northside Middle School and concluding at First View Street and Government Avenue. It featured around 250 entries, including marching bands, classic cars, firetrucks, bagpipes, pirates, and even dogs, showcasing the community’s diverse interests and talents. For Baron, marching in the parade and connecting with the community was the highlight of his day.

Spectators like Lindsey Farrish enjoyed the variety, particularly the dogs and marching bands, highlighting the parade’s appeal to both children and adults. It’s a sentiment echoed by Evan and Diana Roberts, newcomers to the area from North Carolina, who were amazed by the scale of the event and the number of community organizations involved.

Peter Decker III, serving as the emcee and representing the Decker Law Firm, noted the turnout as one of the largest in the parade’s history. He cherished how the event served as a reunion of sorts, bringing together friends and families who might not have seen each other for years.

The Norfolk St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ocean View proved once again to be a unifying event, filled with joy, community spirit, and a shared love for celebration.