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Bob Buckhorn's shamrock leg-acy

TAMPA — Almost as much as the green-dyed Hillsborough River, Mayor Bob Buckhorn's green shamrock-adorned pants have become a fixture of Tampa's St. Patrick Day celebration.

Buckhorn's green britches have served an eight-year tour of duty at the River O'Green Fest at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and later in the day at the Rough Riders' St. Patrick's Day parade in Ybor City.

But with Buckhorn leaving office in May, Saturday's event will likely be the last outing for the festive legwear.

"I've used them every year so it's a little harder to fit into them," Buckhorn joked while posing for pictures with revelers behind the music stage at Curtis Hixon.

After eight years, the trousers still have a wisp of a crease. Buckhorn bought them from J. Parker Ltd, a men's classic clothing store in Savannah, Ga, for about $80.

For 364 days of the year, they stay in his closet along with other special items like the skull-spotted trousers and the bright red chinos that have served as Gasparilla attire.

So what will become of the green slacks?

Buckhorn joked that he might pass them onto Jane Castor, the former police chief that he has endorsed as his successor ahead of her April 23 runoff election against retired banker and philanthropist David Straz.

"You know I told Jane I would leave them for her except for this tall thing — I think they'll end up being like knickers," he said. "I don't know what I'm going to do, put them in the archives maybe."

Buckhorn launched the River O'Green Fest in 2012. He said Castor has promised to continue the tradition.

"People love this, the kids love this," he said.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at codonnell@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_times.

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