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By Carlene Cobb
Florida’s Gulf Coast lifestyle is all about celebrations, and St. Patrick’s Day is a popular occasion. So, grab your green garb and go! Irish music, shepherd’s pie, Guinness and whiskey all flow freely on St. Paddy’s Day. The following parades, pubs and festivals are sure to please.
Tampa— Rough Riders 2020 St. Patrick’s Night Parade, 8 to 11 pm Saturday, March 14, Ybor City, is a popular parade and free to attend. Proceeds from St. Paddy’s events are a major fundraiser for Rough Riders, who contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in monetary gifts and volunteer hours to many charitable organizations. For information and tickets, call 813-248-1898, visit their website: https://www.tamparoughriders.org/St.Patricks-Night-Parade or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naples—St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 14 at 11am is a 40-year tradition that draws more than 40,000 people to downtown Naples. Floats, fire engines, school groups, marching bands, dance troupes and civic groups begin at 3rd Street South and end at Crayton Cove. Naples St. Patrick Foundation hosts this free, family-friendly event, followed by the all-day festival at Sugden Plaza. Learn more at https://rove.me/to/florida/naples-st-patricks-day-parade
St. Petersburg—Mary Margaret’s Olde Irish Tavern, 29 Third Street North, on the historic “First Block” in St. Petersburg—The grand opening is the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, continuing March 14, 15 and 17. Named for owner Pete Boland’s late grandmother, Mary Margaret Prescott, the tavern will serve both a proper shepherd’s pie (made with lamb) and a vegan shepherd’s pie made with Beyond meat. Guinness, Smithwick’s and other imports are on tap. The tavern boasts a large selection of Irish whiskey, including high-end favorites Green Spot, Middleton Very Rare, and Red Breast. Follow on Facebook for the latest updates: https://www.facebook.com/marymargaretsdtsp/
Lake, Sumter and Marion Counties
The Villages—St. Patrick’s Day Festival on March 17, at Spanish Springs Town Square in The Villages, 4 to 9 pm, 1120 Main Street, Lady Lake, FL 32159, will be hosted by Celtic Conundrum, and they will perform a mix of modern and traditional music. Enjoy a huge festival with food, drink and ongoing entertainment. Visit the facebook events page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/868258420260053/?active_tab=about
Sarasota—Paragon Festivals presents inaugural Sarasota St. Paddy’s Festival, atJD Hamel Park, Gulfstream Avenue and Main Street, downtown Sarasota, March 13-15. Enjoy traditionalfood, drinkand live music Friday evening 4 to 10 pm, Saturday 11am to 10 pm, and Sunday 11am to 6 pm. Bands performing include The Verge, Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio, Kettle of Fish and more. Paragon Festivals’ special guest is Humane Society of Sarasota County, hosting its “Big Mac” mobile adoption center at the festival on Saturday. Paragon Festivals’ website: https://www.paragonartevents.com.
Carlene Cobb is an author, correspondent, ghostwriter, blogger and skilled word wrangler whose lifestyle features are widely published. Profile on the Bay Area Professional Writers Guild website: http://www.bapwg.org/?page_id=2978 Profile on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlene-cobb-356b542a/