Snow may still cover the shamrocks in Dublin, but in Phoenix, the hills are turning green and St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated outdoors with street festivals across the valley.
With temperatures around 80, tens of thousands are expected to attend parades and fairs in greater Phoenix.
Up to 60,000 will take in Phoenix’s 30th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and fair, which begins at March 16 at 10 a.m., marching up Third Street between Sheridan and Moreland streets. About 100 bands, cars and floats will participate, including three local pipe bands, a musical group from Hermosillo, Mexico; custom-car clubs, and boy and girl scouts.
“Third Street is a good viewing area, because the offices are closed and the parking is plentiful,” said parade Chairman John Corcoran.
The Irish fair begins when the marching ends at the Margaret T. Hance Park at the intersection of Central Avenue and Culver Street. Bands including The Biffos and Celtic Cowboy will perform on two stages while booths offer food, games and souvenirs.
This year’s festival also features a canned-food drive. Everyone who arrives with at least one can of food will receive a raffle ticket with $100 prizes drawn each hour through 4:30 p.m. More information here.
“There are about 50,000 first- and second-generation Irish in the Phoenix area. The parade and festival are our opportunity to bring great exposure to our heritage,” Corcoran said.
In Chandler, the Irish Republic pub will again take over A.J. Chandler Park from noon to 10 p.m. The event features Irish dancers, bagpipes, and live music. Kids are welcome during the day, but the party turns 21-and-over after 4 p.m. Admission is $10. More information.
Scottsdale will host another adults-only party as five Old Town bars throw their semi-annual Ultimate Block Party at Craftsman Court between 3rd and 5th avenues. The $20 admission gets you food, soft drinks and live music. Former American Idol contest James Durban and the band Lit headline a bill of seven bands. More information.
Finally, for those hoping to burn off those green beers, 4 Peaks Racing is hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Day Run and Beer Garden. Registration is at Kiwanis Park with the walk/run starting at the corners of Rural and Baseline roads. A complimentary beer is available to of-age runners afterward, with more available for sale at the beer garden set up in the park. More information.
James is a freelance writer based in Phoenix covering lifestyle, business, travel and sports. Follow him on Twitter at @NotThatBobJames.