Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and luck of the Irish to you! While Tampa may not be known for its large population of Irish folks, there are an astonishing number of Irish pubs in the area. And perhaps most telling of all is the fact that we currently have an Irish Mayor in Bob Buckhorn. Mayor Buckhorn is seeing to it that all Tampa residents get in on the festivities by proudly hosting the Mayor’s River O Green event in downtown Tampa.
Watch the river turn green and enjoy the family-friendly celebration of St. Patrick's Day — Photo courtesy of City of Tampa
Located along the banks of the Hillsborough River at Curtis Hixon Park, this year’s event will take place on Saturday, March 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and promises fun for the whole family. The main event is the magical transformation of the river to a beautiful shade of sparkling green, providing the perfect setting for the day-long street festival celebrating all things Irish.
Festival activities include live entertainment, games, kids’ stuff, food trucks and, of course, beer! Food trucks this year include Holy Hog BBQ, Whatever Pops, Unforgettable Cupcakes, The Cheesesteak Truck and Rollin Zoinks, among many others.
Admission is free, although attendees are encouraged, in the spirit of St. Patrick, to bring food items to donate. Come enjoy the day and bring the entire family; you can even bring your furry friends.
Take your enjoyment of the shimmering green river even farther and hop aboard the Yacht Starship for a St. Patrick's Day Cruise. Relax and enjoy a green beer, as you cruise up the Hillsborough River and dine on a delicious buffet of Irish delicacies including corned beef and cabbage. If you’re feeling energetic, get on your feet and dance an Irish jig. Reservations are highly recommended.
Looking for a little more exercise? Want to get even closer to that magical green water? How about some stand-up paddle boarding? Urban Kai is hosting a group paddle from their spot upriver just next to Rick’s on the River, down to the festival at Curtis Hixon Park.
The cost is $49 and includes all the gear you need plus a guide. Reservations are required. When you’re done and harboring a raging appetite, make sure to go next door to Rick’s and indulge in a plate of fresh oysters.
But the fun doesn’t end there – you haven’t found the pot of gold yet. Head to Ybor City and stake out a spot to catch your lucky coins as the Rough Riders St. Patrick's Day Night Parade goes by. Best viewing will be on 7th Avenue between N16th Street and N20th Street.
Enjoy being entertained by the lights and floats and beads and music, as Ybor City fills with green in honor of St. Patrick. The event time is listed as 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., but the parade itself will probably begin around 8 p.m. Parking can be rough, no pun intended, so taking a trolley from downtown is a good idea.