Expect to spot a few of those lucky leprechauns around the Tampa Bay area as the area celebrates St. Patrick’s Day on Friday, March 17.
Even though the Emerald Isle is half a world away, preparations are underway locally to mark the holiday. In fact, the feast day has little to do with the leprechauns — a type of mischievous fairy in Irish folklore. The holiday is in commemoration of the patron saint of Ireland, and it is celebrated worldwide.
Area residents will soon be downing pints of Guinness while singing along to Irish drinking tunes such as “Whiskey in the Jar” and “The Wild Rover.” The aroma of corned beef and cabbage will waft from pub kitchens and everyone will be digging through their closets trying to find green apparel.
Many Tampa Bay area businesses and entertainment venues will mark the occasion with a sampling of Irish and Celtic performers.
Here’s a look at St. Patrick’s Day events around Pinellas.
The annual St. Paddy’s Day Festival will be presented Friday, March 17, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., at O'Keefe's Tavern, 1219 S. Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater.
O’Keefe’s has hosted the celebration since 1961, according to its website.
The family-friendly event will feature live bands, bagpipers, Irish dancers, games, and craft vendors. Live entertainment will include performances by the Irish Buskers Band, Hurricane Shane Band, Marcus Pierce, as well as the Dunedin Pipe Band and Irish Dancers.
The event is family-friendly during the day. There will be kids’ games and face painting. After dark, O’Keefe’s recommends those attending are age 21 or older.
For information, call 727-442-9034 or visit okeefestavern.com.
The 30th annual St. Patrick's Day Street Festival will take place Friday, March 17, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., at Flanagan’s Irish Pub, 465 Main St., Dunedin.
This highly anticipated event is a longstanding tradition in the community and promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Thousands of residents and visitors will gather to celebrate all things Irish with an action-packed lineup of entertainment, food, and fun. The festival will begin with the award-winning Dunedin Pipe Band featuring bagpipers, drummers, and more.
Attendees can explore a variety of vendors offering traditional Irish fare, as well as local craft beers, wine, and spirits. Live music will play all day, featuring top local and regional bands, including My Three Kilts, Lucid Druid, Mac Tier, The Gilleoghan Irish Dancers, and more.
For families, there will be games, face painting, and other activities. And for those looking to get their green on, you might be featured in this year's video.
"This year's festival promises to be an unforgettable experience for everyone," said Flanagan’s owner Jason Seibert in a press release. "We're proud to celebrate 30 years of bringing the community together to honor Irish heritage and culture."
The St. Patrick's Day Festival is free to attend and will take place rain or shine. Attendees are encouraged to wear green and bring their friends and family for a day of festivities and fun.
For information, visit flanagansirishpub.net.
Jameson Irish Whiskey and the city of St. Pete will present Paddy Fest St. Pete on Friday, March 17, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., at Williams Park, 350 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg.
The event will feature a lineup of Irish food, drink and music. Live entertainment will be provided by the Dunedin Pipe Band, The Gilleoghan Irish Dancers, Lucid Druid, My 3 Kilts, Chad McDonald, Stormbringer and more. Chef Sean Ford and Mary Margaret's Olde Tavern are collaborating to serve up corned beef and cabbage as well as other Irish classics like fish and chips. The food trucks will include Pamz Pizza Conez, La Strada Pizza Kitchen, Slammer Shop and Mini Mouthful, Ty Ty’s Backyard BBQ and more.
Admission is $5 and includes a free green beer. VIP tickets also are available for purchase. The proceeds from the event will benefit Ocean Aid 360. Attendees must be 21 or older to enter after 5 p.m. Activities include the Guinness Perfect Pour tent where those of age can learn to pour their own perfect pint and keep the glass, Celtic art, the Redbreast Irish Whiskey Experience, March Madness TV viewing area, raffles, swag and more. And all the Irish coffee, Guinness and Irish ales will be flowing.
For information and to purchase VIP tickets, visit paddyfeststpete.com.
The Tampa Downtown Partnership and city of Tampa along with Grow Financial will present this year’s River O’ Green Fest on Saturday, March 18, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa.
The annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration will feature live music, kids’ activities, food trucks, and beer.
The free event kicks off the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, as the Hillsborough River is transformed into a bright shade of green.
“We’re so excited to work with the city and Grow Financial again to bring this Irish-themed celebration to our residents and visitors,” said Tampa Downtown Partnership President and Chief Executive Lynda Remund. “I love seeing the hundreds of people who come downtown, decked out in green gear, for a day full of food and fun. It’s a great way to support our local businesses and bask in the beauty of this incredible city.”
At 11 a.m., Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will sound the horn to start the process of dyeing the Hillsborough River green. The dye is non-toxic, biodegradable, and certified to meet National Sanitation Foundation Standard 60 for use in and around drinking water. The Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission examined the dye and approved it for use as part of the River O’ Green event.
“Seeing our Hillsborough River turn emerald green in celebration of St. Patrick's Day is a great reminder of the excitement and fun that Tampa has to offer,” added Castor. “I know how much I look forward to this annual tradition and the opportunity it brings to come together and celebrate all that makes our city great."
For information, visit riverogreen.com.