30A St Patrick's Day Parade & Festival at Gulf Place Mar 14
March 13, 2015 by SoWal Staff
The 8th Annual 30A St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival will take place on Saturday, March 14 in the color filled beach town of Gulf Place. The local parade along Scenic 30A will collide with the day's celebration in the Gulf Place amphitheater. Festivities will include Celtic rock bands, activities for the whole family (including pups), and even an Irish wedding for one lucky couple. Everyone's Irish for a day! What a great day to be green in SoWal - don't miss the largest St. Patrick's celebration of its kind in Northwest Florida.
St. Patrick's Day festivies begin at noon at Gulf Place and last through 8:00 p.m. During all the fun, the parade will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Scenic Highway 30A (between Grayton Beach and Hwy 83 in Blue Mountain Beach) and heads 4 miles west ending at Gulf Place where the festivities continue. This year's Grand Marshal is Catherine O' Sullivan who hails from Cork Ireland.
Following the parade, kids will enjoy entertainment in the "wee folk" area and costume prizes for fairy princesses and pirates will be up for grabs. Children are also welcome to participate in "Pot O' Gold" treasure hunts, face painting and more.
Live Celtic entertainment will continue throughout the day starting with Dismal Creek, who will pay tribute to bluegrass roots with Irish jigs, reels and brilliant banjo picking. Then by popular demand, Cleghorn will take the stage, followed by Drake School of Irish Dance and Celtic rock band Searson.
"To see this event grow to a full blown parade and packed out festival is very satisfying," said Paul Vizard, event founder. "The original goal was to help businesses promote themselves in the parade, which it does, now the festival has thousands attending, stimulating business at a quiet time of the year. I couldn't be more delighted."
The Best in Parade trophy is up for grabs for the best decorated cars, trucks or floats. Festival goers can purchase commemorative T shirts, experience arts and crafts, including knitted jewelry, blacksmithing, wood carving and face painting, all while enjoying a variety of food and drinks.
As an added twist to this year's festivities, an Irish style wedding will take place for one lucky couple. Brides and grooms are invited to enter to win a special Irish theme wedding at the 8th Annual 30A St Patrick's Festival and Parade. Event organizers hope that a kilted groom can join his bride in matrimony, complete with bag pipes and a huge crowd of witnesses.
"This was an idea that kept growing and growing," said Vizard. "The more we talked about it the more fun it sounded."
To be considered for the wedding nuptials, an entry form is available on the event website at www.30afestival.com. A designated number of tickets will be set aside for friends and family of the bride and groom.
Tickets for the 30A St. Patrick's Day Festival begin at $10 for adults, $5 for kids and $35 for VIP Whiskey/Beer tasting and are available now, along with a full schedule of events, at www.30afestival.com. Proceeds benefit Alaqua Animal Refuge and Fore Her. Fore Her is a charity that provides financial support for local women battling breast cancer. Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill animal sanctuary and adoption center located in Freeport, Florida. The refuge has placed more than 10,000 animals of all kinds since its inception in 2007.
Schedule of Events | Gulf Place Green
12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Pet Pawty benefiting Alaqua Animal Refuge. Princess Fairy Tea Party, Pirates Den, Adventure Zone, face painting, bouncy castle, adventure, Pot 'O Gold treasure hunt, costume contest, maze, and the world's tallest Leprechaun balloon maker.
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Dismal Creek "Roots of Bluegrass Irish Connection" featuring Irish jigs, reels and originals.
3:30 p.m. Cleghorn - America's Celtic Rock Band!
5:30 p.m. Drake School of Irish Dance
6:00 p.m. Best in Parade Awards
6:00 p.m. Searson Band - Canadian Celtic music by Erin, Heather and Colleen Searson, three sisters from the Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada (see video below).
Visit 30afestival.com to register for the parade! The parade is free and open to all. Also, please support this wonderful community festival and consider becoming a sponsor, vendor or volunteer!