Video by David Corrigan
HILO, Hawaii – A typical Hilo rainfall greeted marchers in (what we are told is) the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade held in the Downtown area.
The event took place on Saturday March 15th, stepping off from the Ben Franklin’s Back Parking lot at 4 p.m., travelling down Kilauea and onto Wainuenue Avenue, then following Kamehameha to Kalakaua, ending at Kalakaua Park.
For organizer Sean Ryan OPhelan, the parade was like a legacy fulfilled.
“St. Patrick’s Day parades in my family are a big thing,” OPhelan told us in an interview. “My did started the St Patrick’s Day parade in ’67 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Then in his honor, my sister started the Madison, Wisconsin St Patrick’s Day parade in ’97. I’ve been here about seven years wondering what the deal is. We don’t have a parade, but we all say we celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. I’m a big community fan so I wanted to make something of that.”
OPhelan became emotional talking about the Grand Marshall for the inaugural parade, Lei Jack-segawa. “I love her to death. She should lead Hilo in the movement. She was an easy choice. I knew already she was the one.”
St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated annually on March 17th, the date of the death of Ireland’s most commonly-recognized patron saint.
More Hilo St. Paddy’s Day Parade video: