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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Kid-friendly St. Patrick's Day fun



paddysday.jpgWith St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, it seems everyone is Irish for the day — and heck the river is turning green in Tampa. But it doesn't just have to be the favorite holiday of beer drinkers. It's also a day for storytellers and Irish poets who know a face without freckles is like a sky without stars. You could come up with some fun crafts for kids, and our house gets visits every yearfrom Louie the Leprechaun, who plays tricks on us like turning milk or pancake batter green when our backs are turned.

We went through the list of the many many parties in the bay area and we gleaned for you the more family friendly ones. We see that for once, the popular Rough Riders parade in Ybor City falls on the holiday it celebrates. And don't be put off by its location in party-hearty Ybor, this one starts at 8 p.m. and is full of kids and families. And while more than a few bars are pulling out all the stops and creating a block party for St. Patrick’s Day, for the little leprechauns, there’s a new party in Curtis Hixon Park and parades with lots of beads to add to their treasure.

Here are some of our favorites to consider as you round up your green outfits and build up an appetite for corned beef and cabbage:

River O’Green Fest
New this year, the city of Tampa will dye the Hillsborough River kelly green between the Cass Street Bridge and Kennedy Bridge. In addition, numerous food trucks and entertainers have been invited to the party. Other activities include a kid’s craft area, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fun Zone, soccer collies, a visit from the Tampa Bay Lightning Street Team, potato toss, sack races, jig contest and a strength competition. Free. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 274-8615. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Bay Area Renaissance Festival
This weekend’s theme at the faux 16th century village is “Shamrocks and Shenanigans” with Highland games, a Celtic village, Irish dancers, pub crawl, kilt competition, Scotch Egg eating competition, junior caber toss, beer tasting and vow renewals. In addition, there’s the usual street theater, live armored contact jousting, human chess matches, art, craft and other vendors, fire-eaters and more. Advance: $15.95, $7.95 ages 5-12. At the gate: $18.95, $14.95 seniors, $10.95 ages 5-12; $10 per pet (pet registration form required for entry). Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 983-0111. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Everything’s Green at The Pier
Get your free St. Patrick’s Day beads and “dealie bobbers” (headbands with springy festive decorations) at The Pier concierge center and Jonny Reno’s bar before catching a concert by the Lucid Druid Celtic Fusion band. The Children’s Dream Fund will also sell tickets for a ride in a Honda Grand Prix street legal car ($20). The music starts Saturday at 1 p.m. and car rides are 4-8 p.m. at The Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free.

Dunedin St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival
Flanagan’s takes its annual party to the street with children’s activities, live music by numerous area bands, a performance by the Dunedin Pipe Band, Irish step dancers, Irish Buskers band, traditional Irish food and the Fightin’ Malones. Free. Flanagan’s Irish Pub, 465 Main St, Dunedin. (727) 736-4994. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday.

Maloney’s Family St. Patrick’s Day Bash
Starting at 8 a.m. is a free Irish breakfast. Then until 5 p.m. there’s a bounce house, snow cones and face painting. Live music inside and out. No cover until 5 p.m.; after, 21 and older $10. Maloney’s Irish Pub, 9540 W Linebaugh Ave, Tampa. (727) 749-0859. 8 a.m. Saturday.

Shamrock Carnival
A spring carnival with a St. Patrick’s Day twist that includes food, games, live entertainment and carnival rides. $1-$22 tickets; $25-$50 wristbands. Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 11501 66th Ave. N., Seminole. (727) 391-4060. 6-11 p.m. Friday, 12-11 p.m. Saturday, 12-6 p.m. Sunday.

Shamrock ’n’ Run
This St. Patrick’s-themed event includes a 5K competitive run, 1.5-mile walk and a kids Clover Dash. Stick around for live music by Druid Roots, food and drinks. Non-racers invited to the free concert. Green attire recommended. $20 (5K); $15 (1.5-mile); $7 Clover Dash. Ulmer Park, 301 W Bay Drive, Largo. (727) 587-6740, ext. 5016. 7 p.m. Friday.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Ireland and Saint Patrick
Join Irish writer Ann O’Farrell, author of Norah’s Children and Michael, for humorous tales of her homeland and Saint Patrick. Free. Safety Harbor Library, 101 Second St. N, Safety Harbor. (727) 724-1525, ext. 112. 1 p.m. Saturday.

Mulligan’s St. Patrick’s Day Bash
The putting greens at two golf courses set the backdrop for this St. Patrick’s Day celebration with an Irish buffet, live music, green beer and beer specials, and family friendly activities. The party spreads from the pub to the banquet room, the verandah and the open air courtyard. $4 after 4 p.m., children free (Pebble Creek); $3 after 5 p.m., children free (Wentworth). Mulligan’s Irish Pub at Pebble Creek Golf Club, 10550 Regents Park Drive, Tampa. (813) 973-3870, and Mulligan’s Irish Pub at Wentworth Golf Club, 2990 Wentworth Way, Tarpon Springs. (727) 942-4760. Both at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Beach Bistro’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The 15th annual slow-strolling parade has marching bands, pipe bands, musicians, colorful floats, Judy the official parade elephant and wee leprechauns. It starts at Eat Here, the casual offshoot of Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach. The parade starts Sunday at the corner of Marina and Gulf Drive, and meanders to North Palm Drive and 79th Street. Free admission. Eat Here, 5315 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. (941) 778-0411. 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

St. Patrick’s Dinner and Dance
A dance with corned beef and cabbage or veggie lasagna dinner, plus live entertainment by Royal Time Music and the Butler School of Irish Dance. BYOB welcome. $9, $7 Center members. Palm Harbor Community Activity Center, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor. (727) 771-6000. 5-8 p.m. Friday.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 3:32pm]


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