The eighth annual Hamptons Bays St. Patrick’s Day Parade will kick off on March 24 at 11 a.m., and this year’s grand marshal will be a quiet but familiar face in the Hampton Bays community.
George Skidmore, who will lead the march down Ponquogue Avenue, has been integral to the growth of Hampton Bays since graduating from Hampton Bays High School in 1953. As one of the founding members of the town’s little league almost 60 years ago, Skidmore is well known for his volunteerism and unassuming presence.
“He’s the resident go-to guy,” said John Ryan, the parade chairman. “If you need something, he’s always there.”
This year’s parade, which is sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Michael Collins Division 11, is expected to draw 3,000 to 5,000 spectators who will come to enjoy the 85 marching units, 10 pipe bands and a float competition among area schools.
“It’s a great honor to be selected,” said Skidmore, who opened the popular Skidmore’s Sports and Styles in 1972. “I was a parade judge for the first seven years of the parade, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
“He’s always quiet about what he does,” said Ryan. “This year, we needed to recognize him.”
The parade begins at the Hampton Bays Elementary School on Ponquogue Avenue and ends in the Hampton Atrium parking lot at the corner of Montauk Highway and Route 24.
Ryan hopes that the majority of people will gather around the grandstand, which will be located about 500 feet west of Buckley’s Inn Between, as it is where the bands will give their biggest performance.