This Saturday’s Am O’Gansett parade has yet to be recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s shortest.
That’s partly because, much like “Montauk is haunted” and “Long Island corn is the best in the world,” it’s one of those local facts that’s just assumed. (But, c’mon. How can a parade anywhere else be shorter than Am O’Gansett’s 50 feet?) And partly because parade organizers seem to be far more likely to call the Guinness that produces liquid black gold than the Guinness that publishes some yearly book.
And this is not the time to insert some clichéd “What it lacks in size it makes up for in talent or shenanigans or performers or expansive fireworks, etc…”
Au contraire—read that with an Irish accent, not a French one—the size sets the bar for the quality of the show. The parade lasts all of five minutes, because “We have zero stamina,” says Lee Satinsky, parade founder and Amagansett Chamber of Commerce president.
Which means expect the unexpected, the quirky and balloons from Macy’s, a real-life corporate sponsor. Among the marchers: 60 girl scouts, musicians, dancers, fire breathers and low–flying helicopters. Three truths and two lies.
“I don’t want to give too much of it away,” says Satinsky.
Leading the parade will be local real estate agent Htun Han as this year’s Grand Marshal. An obvious choice, when you consider all of his credentials. Mainly, “He’s the most Irish person we could think of,” raves Satinsky. And, he apparently “looks really good in a bikini.”
He’ll also make time in his rigorous day-of schedule to take pictures, shake hands, give his John Hancock and even sign babies. “Not many Grand Marshals do all that,” comments Satinsky.
The Am O’Gansett parade starts promptly at noon on Saturday, March 9. It begins in front of Mary’s Marvelous, loops around The Computer Shop and goes back again. The afterparty will begin immediately at The Stephen Talkhouse. (Satinsky’s insider’s tip: “It’s so good.”) There, party-goers can purchase raffle tickets for a 27-inch iMac for $20—cash or check or cash or cash is accepted, and proceeds will benefit the newly formed Amagansett Chamber of Commerce.
Though Satinsky is heavily involved in both the Chamber and the parade, it’s probably safe to assume that the former doesn’t have nearly as entertaining of an inception story as the parade.
“We were at a bar, and someone mentioned that ‘you can’t just throw a parade,’” Satinsky says. “And we said, ‘Yeah, you can.’”
So the first annual event was born five years ago.
Also organized by Patty Sales and Michael Clarke, who are on the Chamber board and the parade board, the Am O’Gansett tradition has grown over the years. Not so much as to lose its charm. (Let’s not forget that it’s thrown in a town whose train station can only accommodate a single LIRR car.) But enough to graduate from the sidewalk—the site of the first parade—to the street, its home since Parade No. 2.
For any local who has ever been approached by an out-of-towner to ask what happens in the offseason, the nature of the Am O’Gannsett St. Patrick’s Day parade probably provides the most quintessential answer. We create our own fun. We throw short parades with long guest lists—be on the lookout for Flipper, Pee Wee Herman and Betty White—do a wee bit of day drinking and partake in some community shenanigans.
Féach tú ann!
The Am O’Gansett parade starts promptly at noon on Saturday, March 9.
For more info, visit amagansettchamber.org.