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Families enjoyed a petting zoo featuring a variety of animals during Emerald Isle, N.C.'s 23rd annual St. Patrick's Day Festival March 15, 2014. The animals belonged to Oak Grove Stables Petting Zoo and were one of more than 100 vendors featured during the festival, which drew a crowd of more than 30,000.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

Community gathers on Emerald Isle, paints the town green

21 Mar 2014 | Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. – A sea of green hats, four-leaf clovers and "Kiss me, I'm Irish" t-shirts filled the streets as brouhaha erupted on Emerald Isle, N.C., during the 23rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 15, 2014.

The festival had a variety of attractions and family oriented activities. More than 100 vendors offered everything from arts and crafts to a petting zoo and rides.

More than 30,000 participants flooded the streets with green under a beautiful, sunny sky.  

“It is a great way to kick off the season,” said Laniey Gottuso, a recreation coordinator for the festival.

Each year the party is a huge success, partially to the fact that the festival has a little something for everyone, said Gottuso.

“It has a great kids section and gives you an all-around fun time for the family,” said Lance Cpl. Ken Orrico, a legal services specialist with Headquarters Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations East.

Orrico attended the festival with his family and plans to paint the Isle green next year.“The festival was a blast and I can’t wait to come out again next year,” said Orrico.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point