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A massive 2024 celebration is in store as ‘Paddy Fest St. Pete’ returns for a two-day, family-friendly festivity



A massive 2024 celebration is in store as 'Paddy Fest St. Pete' returns for a two-day, family-friendly festivity

Prepare your shamrocks because Paddy Fest is making a comeback to downtown Tampa Bay. Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the 2nd annual Paddy Fest is doubling the excitement with two full days of free, family-friendly activities on Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, from 12-9 pm at Williams Park in downtown St. Pete.

As the largest St. Patrick’s Day festival in St. Pete, the entire weekend is a jubilation of all things Celtic, featuring an abundance of Irish fare (how about some corned beef?), Irish whiskey, and beer (helloooo, Guinness), along with live Irish music, including multiple sets from the world champion Dunedin Pipe Band. A new highlight this year is a 7,500 square foot Celtic Games exhibition, inviting festival attendees to try their hand at traditional games while enjoying professional performances from the foundation of Scottish Athletes.

Anticipating over 20,000 attendees during the expansive two-day festival, Paddy Fest 2024 is poised to become one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the history of the Tampa Bay Region. Sponsorship opportunities for this colossal event are still open, with four months remaining until Paddy Fest transforms the town. Adding to the excitement, iHeartRadio is joining the festivities this year, collaborating with the weekend-long event to broadcast it over the airwaves and feature some of its radio personalities at Williams Park, adorned in green and highlighting all the event shenanigans.

Paddy Fest showcases the best of Tampa Bay

Last year’s inaugural event served as a stellar example of what an exceptional gathering in St. Pete’s Williams Park can be, taking over the entire city block in downtown and showcasing the best of the entire region. Building on that success, organizers have decided to expand Paddy Fest into a two-day event this year, offering free entry and making it accessible to all ages.

Live music and dance performances will grace the stage throughout both days, accompanied by a spacious lawn for dancing, singing, picnicking, and relaxation. A two-story, double-decker party bar will be on-site, along with multiple full bars scattered throughout the event. BreakThru Beverage Distributors will be present for tastings and cocktails featuring authentic Irish beers and whiskeys, including Tullamore DEW & Slane. Additionally, the popular “Inflatable Pub” will make a return this spring, featuring a gigantic, inflatable, and fully-operational pub with a full bar and seating.

Paddy Fest is set to unveil an expanded kids zone this year, featuring inflatables, face painting, balloon artists, and other performers to ensure a delightful experience for the younger attendees. The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Tampa Bay Rays will once again have a significant presence, complete with mascots joining the festivities.

A novel addition this year is the introduction of a Kegs and Eggs style brunch on St. Patrick’s Day morning. Local chefs will serve up traditional Irish breakfast plates, complemented by Irish coffee, Guinness, Harp Lager, and more. While the entrance to Paddy Fest remains free, there is an exclusive VIP ticket option, offering the chance to mingle in the backstage hospitality tent with celebrity guests and performers, enjoying complimentary beer and Irish delicacies.

Drink green beer for charity

This expansive park festival is a collaborative effort between the City of St. Pete and the local team responsible for St. Patrick’s Day and beloved St. Pete establishments Mary Margaret’s Irish Pub and The Galley. This group, known for orchestrating Tampa Bay’s largest World Cup watch parties at Williams Park and Jannus Live in late 2022, has proven its ability to curate fantastic experiences.

While Paddy Fest primarily revolves around Celtic festivities, it also serves as a platform to support an admirable local cause. All proceeds from the event will contribute to Ocean Aid 360, a St. Pete-based non-profit dedicated to marine habitat restoration. The success of last year’s Paddy Fest and the World Cup watch parties resulted in raising over $20K for Ocean Aid 360, and organizers are eager to continue making impactful donations after this year’s festival.

St. Paddy’s Festival celebrates all things local

One of the festival’s standout features is its commitment to supporting local artists and businesses. A lineup of beloved area food trucks will be present, with renowned local chef Melanie Rattanachane from Fresh Factory spearheading the creation and service of authentic Irish dishes.

The diverse range of food trucks caters to various tastes, featuring favorites like Slammer Shop, La Strada, and Mini Mouthful. Whether you’re looking for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon snack, there’s something for every craving. The vendor market will showcase area makers and artists, including an exclusively Irish section.

The event is significantly tied to the local community. Pete Boland and Kat Van Dora, both born and raised locals, are spearheading the organization for the second consecutive year. The duo, co-owners of Mary Margaret’s Irish Pub, has been hosting St. Patrick’s parties for St. Pete since they started working together at Courigan’s Irish Pub in 2009. This marks their 15th consecutive St. Patrick’s celebration.

Reflecting on the event, Boland expressed, “It’s nice to come full circle here. St. Patrick’s is a special day for us, and we’re thrilled to do something on this level for the city we love on our favorite holiday.”

Paddy Fest St. Pete is scheduled from 12-9 pm on Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17.


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