When the Ventura Elks Lodge’s 30th annual County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade makes its march up Main St., it will feature a new green pig.
As Ventura history can report, Shamhock – the giant inflatable green pig who’d been a mainstay of the parade for 26 of its 29 years – collapsed last year along the parade route, right in front of the judges’ viewing stand.
To parade committee chairman Tim O’Neil, who’d “fathered” the pig back in the 1980s, it was a devastating loss. “He died right there in front of me,” said O’Neil, who announces the parade every year.
Now, the parade committee is thrilled to announce that, using the dead pig’s “DNA” (i.e. fabric) along with copious photos, they’ve been able to create a new exact identical pig, who will debut at this year’s parade!
The resilient pig plays right into the “Ventura Strong” theme of the milestone parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 17, at the San Buenaventura Mission on Main St., and will proceed along Main to Ash Street.
The true heroes of the “Ventura Strong” movement are the parade’s grand marshals: the incredible first responders who worked tirelessly to suppress the raging Thomas Fire and to help its victims.
To honor them, the parade committee encourages all spectators to bring homemade signs thanking the first responders for their remarkable efforts and courage. We really want them to feel the love.
Also joining the parade this year will be Irish Belles Cameryn Boggio-Shean of Ventura High and Jonyssa Carrillo of El Camino High. For the first time in the eight-year history of its Irish Belle program, the parade committee has selected two winners to share the honor. Both Cameryn and Jonyssa are seniors at their Ventura high schools.
Presented each year by the Elks Club’s Ventura Lodge No. 1430, the popular St. Patrick’s Day parade draws thousands of spectators, and dozens of entries.
The judges who will select winning entries this year are Nicole Ipach of California State University, Channel Islands; Ventura Unified School District Superintendent David Creswell; parade committee member James Lockwood, Sue Georgino of Georgino Development and the Elks Club’s Connie Stahl.
Dozens of sponsors support the annual parade, including many who have given generously every year for decades.