Parade’s Alternate Universe

    Much like Punxsutawney Phil, the Am O’Gansett St. Patrick’s Day parade, which kicks off on Saturday at 12:01 p.m., is for many residents a sure sign of spring. The fifth annual parade, which its organizers boldly claim to be the world’s shortest, will proceed west from Mary’s Marvelous to the Mobil gas station before returning to its place of origin.
    This year, the planning and execution have been turned over to the nascent Amagansett Chamber of Commerce, which held its first board meeting last week. The Computer Shop, on Main Street, is raffling a 27-inch Apple iMac computer to benefit the chamber. Tickets are available at the shop and at Crossroads Music. The winner will be chosen at the parade’s after-party, set for 1:02 p.m. at the Stephen Talkhouse.
    The Am O’Gansett parade, which features floats, bands, and various other marching units, has been likened to a St. Patrick’s Day parade taking place in some alternate universe. The grand marshal, for example, cannot be of Irish heritage. “People looking for it to make sense have come to the wrong parade,” said Michael Clark, proprietor of Crossroads Music and an organizer of the event. “It’s really comical. The whole thing is really fun.”
    Or not. “We don’t joke about the parade, okay?” said Patty Collins Sales, another organizer. “This is serious.” Ms. Sales did acknowledge that residents are greatly anticipating this year’s parade. “It’s what brings everybody out in the spring, like crocuses,” she said.
    Or like Punxsutawney Phil? “Not to be confused with Talkhouse Phil,” she replied, referring to Philip Vega, a bartender at the Stephen Talkhouse who served as grand marshal of the second Am O’Gansett parade.
    Htun Han, a principal of Hamptons Realty Group and the grand marshal this year, added to the decidedly mixed messages delivered by parade personnel. “Anything that brings fun and mirth,” he said, “I’m all for it.”