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Parking in St. Petersburg on Saturday? You'll need luck o' the Irish

ST. PETERSBURG — If weekend plans to downtown St. Petersburg don't factor in traffic and parking, you're in for a rude awakening.

The annual Harvey's 5K Run, St. Patrick's Day festivities and a temporary move by the Saturday Morning Market to its previous home along Central Avenue will create an interesting trifecta of tribulations for those patronizing businesses and shops there.

That favorite parking spot off of Central Avenue won't be there. Because of road construction in preparation for the upcoming Honda Grand Prix, motorists will find access to many downtown streets fenced off or blocked.

Motorists should also expect some delays and detours downtown Saturday due to the scheduled events.

• The annual Festival of States Harvey's 5K Run kicks off Saturday morning's activities with a 1-mile walk at 7:45 a.m. and 5K at 8 a.m. The race, in its 25th year, features a new route that will start and finish on Bayshore Drive at North Straub Park. Organizers expect the event to end by 10 a.m.

• The Saturday Morning Market makes a temporary return to its former Central Avenue spot. Streets will be closed to traffic between First and Third streets, as well as Second Street between First avenues N and S, from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to accommodate the market.

• A St. Patrick's Day children's parade steps off from the Lucky Dill, 277 Central Ave., at 10:30 a.m.

• Traffic will also be impacted by revelers celebrating St. Patrick's Day. A block party at Durty Nelly's, 149 First Ave. N, gets under way at 11 a.m. with live music from more than 20 DJs and bands. The 100 block of First Avenue N between First and Second streets, along with the adjacent parking lot, will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.

• Beach Drive SE will be closed to traffic from First Avenue SE to Central Avenue from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday for a celebration at Courigan's Irish Pub. About a thousand people are expected to participate in the pub's seventh annual St. Patrick's Day event, which begins at 11 a.m.

• Crowley's Downtown Pub, at 269 Central Ave., will host a fundraising concert for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the parking lot of the former Bank of America building between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. The event features live entertainment from Save the Radio, the Bawdy Boys, Kaleigh Baker and Celtic band Seven Nations.

All cars must be removed by 5 a.m. Saturday, when crews will begin clearing streets and issuing citations or towing vehicles.

Residential parking permits will not exempt cars from being ticketed or towed.

No-parking signs will be posted and parking meters will be bagged in affected areas by 9 p.m. Friday.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at sgadsden@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8874.

Parking in St. Petersburg on Saturday? You'll need luck o' the Irish 03/16/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 16, 2012 10:43pm]
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