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Feb 28, 2024

Here Come the Clydesdales!

Lynne Cope Hummell

Photography By

Lynne Cope Hummell
Iconic high-stepping horses featured in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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Every year, one of the most often-asked questions on Hilton Head Island in early March is: “Are the Clydesdales coming to the parade this year?”

The queries refer to the iconic four-legged representatives of Budweiser beer commercial fame, who have participated in the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade every couple of years or so for decades. The answer this year is a resounding “Yes!”

Franny Gerthoffer, director of Hilton Head Humane, waves to parade-goers with er furry friend.

This year marks the 39th iteration of the island’s greenest event, which will be held on St. Patrick’s Day – Sunday, March 17, starting at 2 p.m. The time is a change from previous years. 

The parade steps off on Pope Avenue near Lowcountry Celebration Park, 94 Pope Ave., and ends at Office Park Road. The beach-bound lanes of Pope Avenue will be closed at 1 p.m., with two-way traffic in the other two lanes.

The 2024 Grand Marshal for the parade was announced February 8 at Reilley’s Grill & Bar, longtime headquarters for the parade. Monty Jett, well-known in the community for his work in radio, but also recognized as the announcer’s voice for numerous nonprofit fundraisers, received his sash in a 3 p.m. ceremony, with past Grand Marshals, parade and town officials, friends, and media present.

Jett came to Hilton Head Island in 1988 from Charleston to start up the JOY 108 FM radio station. He rode in that year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade with his coworkers and has participated in the parade every year since then. For the past several years, he has served as a parade announcer at the reviewing stand after riding as a parade entry.

Monty Jett, radio personality and voice volunteer, was named the Grand Marshal of the 2024 Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade in a ceremony February 8 at Reilley’s Grill & Bar

Jett has volunteered his emcee and announcer services for numerous local nonprofits over the years, helping to raise an estimated $30 million in donations. 

Also scheduled to entertain fans in the parade are the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, the U.S. Army Band, the Parris Island Marine Band, Navy Band Southeast, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Pipes and Drums.

Additional pipe and drum bands include the City of Limerick Ireland Pipes and Drums, New Haven County (Connecticut) Firefighters Pipes and Drums, and the Charleston, Atlanta, and Savannah pipe bands. Several area high school bands and performance troupes, including the StarMakers Dance Company’s Irish dancers and cloggers, will participate as well.

The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile is always a crowd favorite at the St, Patrick’s Day Parade.

Local businesses, schools, civic clubs, and nonprofits will be represented with colorful floats, cars, trucks, boats, and other vehicles, along with local and state dignitaries.

The event is expected to draw thousands of participants and spectators of all ages from around the region. Spectators are encouraged to park at the USCB Hilton Head Campus or in parking lots of businesses that are closed on Sunday.

Even the youngest Irish lasses love the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The parade is the capstone event of IrishFest weekend, which starts with an Irish concert the previous day, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Lowcountry Celebration Park near Coligny Circle. The free and family-friendly event features Syr, a Celtic folk rock band, along with pipe and drum bands, and the StarMakers dancers.

The evening event will include food and beverages for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring their chairs and stay for the duration. Coolers and pets will not be allowed.

To enter a school, business or community group in the parade, to volunteer, and for more information, visit  

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