Mount Nebo’s famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade brings community together at the ‘end of the rainbow’

By Matty Buckner, RealWV

Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, or that’s the way I hear it any way!

Perhaps it’s true though, especially for one small town community!  Mt. Nebo, WV doesn’t sound like a town in Ireland but it’s particularly famous for its festive parade! Depending on how the calendar falls you can bet your four-leaf clover that on or around the 17th of March you’ll hear bagpipes and the beat of drums coming from local high school bands.  

In 2006 Steve Brown of Mt. Nebo talked about planning a parade to bring people to this little community and for it to have something to be known for. After help from friends and neighbors the first parade took place.  The beginnings were small, but it was a success, and the idea became more realistic.  The first few parades had lots of small-town goodness.  Antique tractors, livestock, local groups and first responders.  However, there was a bigger objective and the goal to raise money to help give back by ways of scholarships and other charitable opportunities.  A few years passed and the event really began to gain traction.  

One of the biggest ways for this to happen was to start a network of folks that wanted to help.  By giving people, the option to become a Leprechaun! No, you don’t have to wear a top hat or have a big red beard, but you do get a festive green blazer to announce your membership!  Those who wish to participate paid their fees and were inducted into what is now known as the The Grand Order of the Royal Leprechauns – a group of volunteers and folks from our county and beyond! They fundraise and participate in various activities throughout the year to help promote this fun event! I learned that this organization now has over 700 Royal Leprechauns and held its latest induction of 96 NEW members! Parade organizers have raised almost one million dollars that have been given back to the community for important programs and scholarships!!

Each year the event adds more parts to the once one day celebration.  Now it starts weeks in advance! Things such as a comedy roast, wild food cook off, pet pageant and the shamrock dash! All events are just another layer of fundraising.  For more information on participating in next year’s event you can visit https://mnsaintpatsparade.org 

I know my family has attended several of the parades over the years and it’s always a fun time. Everyone lines up along the ever-fitting road named St. Patrick Boulevard and you can feel the excitement.  Kids and adults alike laughing and visiting with their neighbors; wondering what will be in the parade this year! Clowns, funny mini cars that zoom past you – once there were tiny airplanes driven by members of the Beni Kedem Temple!  A crowd favorite though is the bag pipes! The Beni Kedem Highlanders Pipes and Drums add the perfect amount of Irish magic to the day! If you listen, you can hear them through the trees getting tuned and ready.  Sounds of that unmistakable instrument gets everyone in the spirit! 

The line up has lots of various participants. Churches, local small businesses, charity organizations, our local police and fire departments all pitch in to add to the event! This year I noticed food vendors and other items down at the hub of the event.  Thousands of parade goers line the road – waving, cheering and shaking hands.  Kids can collect a nice size sack of candy and treats too!  Even if you’re not a member of the Royal Leprechauns or take part in the events at the Tractor Bar there is still fun to be had!  

Heather Tully, WV House of Delegates from the 49th District, a regular parade participant and member of The Grand Order of the Royal Leprechauns, stated, “Sometimes the simplest of ideas feed in the long-standing transitions. That is precisely how the Mt. Nebo St. Patrick’s Day Parade, hosted by the Grand Order of Royal Leprechauns, started.”

“A young, local Marine, Corporal Brian Richardson, lost his life defending our country in Iraq in 2005,” Mrs. Tully added. “Community members began to brainstorm ways to raise money to fund a scholarship to honor Brian Richardson. Thus, the membership organization was born & the parade kicked off in March 2006. Since that time, membership of the Grand Order of the Royal Leprechauns & the parade have grown immensely. The funds raised by the Grand Order are expended locally on student scholarships, fire departments, libraries, elementary & secondary schools, the local humane society, & more. It is great fun for a great cause. I’m proud to be involved with an organization that gives so much back to the community.”

It’s community members like Mrs. Tully and hundreds of others that have helped the Mt. Nebo St. Patrick’s Day Parade become what it is today! It’s important for people to attend and support small town events.  I know I look forward to the “Shamrock Show” every year and so do a lot of families! Hopefully, I’ll see you there for the next one! Until then “May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold—and at the end of your rainbows may you find a pot of gold.” 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Matty Buckner is a freshman at Nicholas County High School. RealWV has had the privilege of working with Matty in the past, is thrilled to provide our readers with her coverage of the Mount Nebo St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and we look forward to working with her again in the future.

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