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30A St Patricks Day Parade & Festival Returns to Gulf Place Mar 12

March 7, 2016 by Teresa Lischka

The 9th Annual 30A St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival is coming up Saturday, March 12 in South Walton, Fla. The local parade along Scenic 30A will join the day's celebration in the Gulf Place amphitheater. Festivities will include Celtic rock bands, food and drink, and activities for the whole family.              

Everyone's Irish for a day! What a great day to be green in SoWal. Come out to take part in the largest St. Patrick's celebration of its kind on the Emerald Coast of Florida. Tickets are now on sale on the 30A St Patrick's Parade and Festival website. Proceeds from the event will benefit Fore Her, an excellent local organization supporting women with breast cancer. 

The St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 1:00 p.m. east of Redfish Village on Scenic 30A and heads west to Gulf Place. The St. Patrick's Day Festival kicks off at 2:00 p.m. and lasts through 8:00 p.m. The parade route heads west on Scenic Highway 30A (between Grayton Beach and Hwy 83 in Blue Mountain Beach) for 4 miles ending at Gulf Place where the festivities continue. T

This year's Grand Marshal is Staff Sergeant Aaron Hale of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Hale served a tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. On December 8, 2011, Staff Sergeant Hale, an EOD technician, was severely injured in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated. Every bone in Hale’s face was broken, he suffered severe burns, and was left completely blind.  

Staff Sergeant Hale, a Purple Heart recipient, estimates he disabled as many as 50 explosive devices during his last tour in Afghanistan. Since being injured, Aaron has conquered many mountains, including climbing Mount Mariposa in the Peruvian Andes with the veterans group, Soldiers to Summits. Aaron also enjoys kayaking, white water rapid riding, and has run four marathons.

Staff Sgt Aaron Hale said, "Since my injury, I have chosen a very public life of speaking, advocating, and generally participating in in events in the hopes that I can motivate and inspire others. While I don't normally take recognition for recognition sake, this event sounds like a great time and cause."


The parade expects a record number of floats and parade entries, in all shapes and sizes. The Best in Parade trophy is up for grabs for the best decorated cars, trucks or floats. 

"I cant believe we are now at the 9th parade and festival," said Paul Vizard, event founder. "Every year is better than the last, I am very grateful for the support of the community and visitors to the area."

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.

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.

Live Celtic entertainment will continue throughout the day with several bands paying tribute to Irish jigs and tunes as well as rock, bluegrass, punk and folk. Irish born lead singer Eoin McCarthy and Whiskey of the Damned Celtic rock band is making a special tour stop in SoWal for the Festival. Already likened to "The Pogues" this band is sure to rock Gulf Place with their raucus range of Irish music. Whiskey of the Damned takes the stage at 2:30 p.m. and returns later in the evening to close out the Festival.
The St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 1:00 p.m. Starting at The Preserve east of Redfish Village and heading west to Gulf Place. Start lineup at noon
Festival & Music
The St. Patrick's Day Festival begins at 2:00 p.m. in Gulf Place
Gulf Place Green: "Wee Folk" Princess Tea Party, Pirates Den — costume contests, and Adventure area. 2:00 p.m.
Pet Pawty costume contest 3:00 p.m.
Live music all day/night starting at 2:30 p.m. and going through 8:00 p.m.
Tallahassee Step Dance Crew at 2:00 p.m.
The Tosspints
John Sheckler on dulcimer performing a range of tunes
Whiskey of the Damned Celtic Rock Band
Drake School of Irish Music


Tickets for the 30A St. Patrick's Day Festival begin at $10 for adults, $5 for kids and $22.50 (or $40/couple) for VIP Whiskey/Beer tasting and are available now, along with a full schedule of events, at www.30afestival.com. Tickets also available at Redd's Fueling Station, 30A Songwriter Radio Coffee & Music Shop, and Johnny McTighes Irish Pub.

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 11,000 animals of all kinds since its inception in 2007.

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.

Parade registration.

The 9th Annnual 30A St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival is March 12, 2016

Get GREEN at Gulf Place in South Walton, Florida.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

~Irish Blessing



Teresa Lischka's picture

A Birmingham native, Teresa could never get enough of the beach so she moved to SoWal as soon as she could. She loves sharing all things SoWal with the world.

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