SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL, — Honoring Staff Sgt Aaron Hale as Grand Marshal at 9th Annual St Patrick’s Parade and Festival.
On December 8, 2011, Staff Sergeant Hale, an EOD technician, was severely injured in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated. Every bone in SSG Hale’s face was broken, he suffered severe burns, and was left completely blind. He served a tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. SSG Hale’s unit completed 1,100 counter-IED missions, destroying more than 20,000 pounds of enemy explosives.
SSG Hale, a Purple Heart recipient, estimates he disabled as many as 50 explosive devices during his last tour in Afghanistan. Since being injured, Aaron has conquered many mountains, including climbing Mount Mariposa in the Peruvian Andes with the veterans group, Soldiers to Summits. Aaron also enjoys kayaking, white water rapid riding, and has run four marathons.
Staff Sgt Aaron Hale said, “Since my injury, I have chosen a very public life of speaking, advocating, and generally participating in in events in the hopes that I can motivate and inspire others. While I don’t normally take recognition for recognition sake, this event sounds like a great time and cause.”
The 30A St Patrick’s parade expects a record number of floats and parade entries, in all shapes and sizes. The parade begins at 1.00pm Saturday March 12th on Florida Scenic Highway 30a and heads 4 miles west, ending at Gulf Place, where the festivities continue at 2pm.. The event will entertain the kids with the “wee folk” area containing costume prizes for fairy princesses and pirates, along with “Pot O’ Gold” treasure hunts, face painting and much more.
“I could not be more proud and grateful than to have a veteran as our Grand Marshal. said Paul Vizard, event founder. We have had many distinguished guests as Grand Marshal but since the event inception have always wanted to honor our military. This area has a great community, and I cant wait to see the streets lined in support of Aaron.”
Proceeds benefit Fore Her 501c breast cancer charity. The Best in Parade perpetual trophy is up for grabs for the best decorated cars trucks or floats. Festival goers can purchase commemorative T shirts, experience arts and crafts, and of course a variety of food and drinks. A few sponsor spots, vendor table and tent spaces are still available, and businesses are encouraged to be a sponsor, details at www.stpatricks30a.com
Entry to the parade is free, and festival ticket prices begin at – $10 for adults, kids are $5 each and VIP $22.50 each, kids under 4 and military id are free. Each entry gets swag and one complimentary beverage. VIP get a plate of corned beef and cabbage, beverage, preferred seating and swag. Tickets available now at www.stpatricks30a.com or at Redds Fueling Station, McTighes Irish Pub, Perfect pig, Sunrise Coffee on 30a.
The 9th Annual 30a St Patrick’s Parade and Festival is the largest celebration in NW Florida of Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day. The parade commences on Scenic 30a March 12th 1pm and ends at Gulf Place, in Santa Rosa Beach, where the festival begins at 2pm til a little after dark. Proceeds benefit Fore Her 501c breast cancer charity. For tickets and details visit www.stpatricks30a.com