It's been awhile since St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday, but that doesn't seem to matter since the party scene this year extends all weekend, with the Hillsborough River turning green and parades awash in emerald spectacles as spectators wash down green beer.
But it doesn't just have to be the favorite holiday of beer drinkers. It's also a day for storytellers and Irish poets and kid-friendly fun.
Here are some of the top ways to get your shamrock on this weekend. For more St. Patrick's Day events see tampabay.com/holiday.
River O'Green Fest
Tampa once again celebrates by dyeing the Hillsborough River with a bright green, biodegradable dye. But the hue change is happening Saturday instead of Friday, so that it can be a daylong festival in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. There will be live music, Irish dancing, Irish beer, food trucks, the River O'Green Gallop, a scavenger hunt, a costume contest and the Shamrock Scavenger Crawl. Free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the park at 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.
Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery and Ferg's Live in Tampa team up to host a full week of St. Patrick's Day parties and events for all ages. The Ferg's Live party starting at 3 p.m. Friday ($10) will have a Fireball ice luge, flip cup tournament, Scariff Dancers, green beer and a free trolley between Irish 31 in Hyde Park Village and Ferg's Live, downtown at 490 Channelside Drive, so revelers can party hop. On Saturday, the free Paddyfest Family Fun Day at Irish 31 in Westchase, at 10102 Montague St., will have visits by ThunderBug and the Lightning Girls to cheer on kids maneuvering through an inflatable obstacle course and trying hockey slap shots. It also includes a pet-friendly yappy hour, adoptable pets on site, games, face painting, entertainment and activities from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. New Paddyfest events this year are the Shake Your Shamrock 5K at 10 a.m. Sunday ($25-$45) and the Keggs & Eggs brunch Saturday and Sunday. Full lineup at paddyfest.org.
Rough Riders Night Parade
The krewe is named after Teddy Roosevelt's famous regiment, which camped in Tampa before embarking for combat in Cuba. The Rough Riders have been throwing this big St. Patrick's Day parade for more than 20 years, like a Gasparilla turned green. This is another Saturday event after the actual holiday, and the parade will bring krewes from across Florida to celebrate with beads, floats and more. Avoid crowds and bad parking situations by taking the trolley to the parade, 8 p.m. Saturday along Ybor City's E Seventh Avenue.
If ever a holiday called for the serious bagpipe skills of the Dunedin Pipe Band, it's this one. The band kicks off both days of this festival with live music, Irish Step Dancers, traditional Irish food, special guests and beer. Free. The street party runs 11:45 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday along Main Street in front of Flanagan's Irish Pub, 465 Main St. Also in Dunedin, Cricketers pub throws a two-day parking lot party under a tent, with four live bands, bagpipers, face painting, Hula Hoop shows, raffles, giveaways, food and drink specials. Free admission. 4-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday at 2634 Bayshore Blvd.
Thirsty First and the One Night Stand close down First Avenue N for live music, DJ dancing, trash can beer pong, corn hole, a kids zone, drink specials and costumed leprechaun wrestling featuring stars of Micro Championship Wrestling. VIP includes all you can drink and a ringside seat for the wrestling match. Free, $50 VIP. Thirsty First, 119 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 317-3333. Noon-11 p.m. Friday.
St. Patrick's Day Block Party
Courigan's Irish Pub "rocks the block" in front of the St. Petersburg marina with food, an outdoor bar and live music by Paddy O'Furniture and Jeff and the Jarretts. No cover. 1 Beach Drive SE, St. Petersburg. 2:30-9:30 p.m. Friday.
St. Paddy's Extravaganza
Lucky Dill is cooking up nearly 10,000 pounds of corned beef and cabbage for a multiday party with live music, Irish ramblers, whiskey dreg, bagpipers, balloon art, face painters, green beer and a fire hula show. No cover. Lucky Dill Deli, 33180 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor. (727) 789-5574. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today-Monday.
Put on green swim trunks and hit the beach for this outdoor party with live music by the Murphs, DJ dancing, games, corned beef and cabbage, Reuben sliders and green beer. No cover. Beach Bar, 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. (813) 281-8900. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday.
Bay Area Renaissance Festival
The festival continues with a Shamrocks and Shenanigans theme, including Highland games, a keg toss, men in kilts and a bonnie knees competition. $17.95 advance, $20.95 day of; $9.95 advance, $12.95 day of (ages 5-12); $16.95 seniors/students; $10 dogs. Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. 1-800-966-8215. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Food Trucks: Rally Around Town
This month pays tribute to St. Patrick's Day with a festival featuring Irish potatoes for a French Fry Festival. Truck lineup includes Boom Boom Box, Cajun in a Truck, Flip'n Tasty Filipino, Food Truck in the Middle, I Wanna Wok, Merica Food Truck, Mr. C's Grilled Cheese, Surf and Turf Truck, the Cake Girl and Vanchetta Food Truck. Free (food and drink additional). Port of St. Petersburg, 250 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. (727) 892-5715. 6-9 p.m. Friday.
Indian Shores Festival
The gulf-front town closes down the street for an annual St. Patrick's Day festival with vendors, Irish dancers, music by DJ Dan Bauer, a book sale, food, beer and wine. Free. Indian Shores Town Hall , 19305 Gulf Blvd. (727) 595-4020. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Movies in the Park
St. Patrick's Day brings a screening of Pete's Dragon (2016) (PG), a Disney's movie centering around a giant, fuzzy, shamrock-green dragon. Bring blankets and low chairs. Free. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. (727) 587-6755. 7 p.m. Friday.
Celebration Disney Springs
Raglan Road Irish Pub is pulling out all the stops with a "Mighty Festival," including authentic Irish food, Irish storytellers, dancers, face painters and live entertainment by the Young Dubliners, the Byrne Brothers and the HanaLena Band. Free, $10 Friday. Disney Springs, 1590 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 828-3800. Noon. Through Sunday.
Bring a bag lunch and listen to professional genealogist Donna Moughty discuss "Strategies for Finding Your Irish Ancestors" and "Online Sources for Irish Research." Free. Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive. (727) 587-6715. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Four Green Fields
Four Green Fields parties for two days with authentic Irish food, beer and music by Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones. No cover today, $10 Friday. Four Green Fields, 205 W Platt St., Tampa. (813) 254-4444. 9 a.m.-3 a.m. today-Friday.
Make sure to sport your green because MacDinton's claims to be "the place to be seen in your green" at this two-day party. Friday features Irish dancers, bagpipers, traditional food, live Irish music and DJ dancing. The party starts all over Saturday with brunch, live music, buckets of bubbles and a Bloody Mary bar. MacDinton's Irish Pub, 405 S Howard Ave., Tampa. (813) 251-8999. 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
MacDinton's St. Pete and Hang Over Cure
Downtown St. Petersburg's Irish pub throws a party with live music, Irish dancers, bagpipers and DJ dancing, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. No cover. Then 11 a.m. Saturday, sop up the liquor with a hearty brunch. Then replenish with buckets of bubbles and a Bloody Mary bar. No cover. MacDinton's St. Pete, 242 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 201-9783.
The 11th annual party features green beer, live music, a costume contest and an Irish buffet including corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, and bangers and mash, after 4 p.m. Cover: $5 after 3 p.m., 11 and younger free; buffet: $14, $8 kids. Mulligan's Irish Pub at Pebble Creek Golf Club, 10550 Regents Park Drive in New Tampa. (813) 973-3870, ext. 225. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday.
O'Keefe's cranks it up another notch with 2 tons of corned beef and cabbage, more than 150 kegs of green beer, shepherd's pie, Irish drinks, bagpipers, Highland dancers and live music by the Irish Buskers (4 p.m. both days), Greg Billings Band (9 p.m. today), Orlando Irish (noon Friday), and a dueling piano show (9 p.m. Friday). No cover today, $5 after 4 p.m. Friday. O'Keefe's Tavern and Grille, 1219 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater. (727) 442-9034. 4 p.m. to midnight today, noon to 1 a.m. Friday.
Dress like a leprechaun for this party with an Irish buffet, green beer, entertainment, children's activities, bounce house, face painting, a costume contest and live music in Tarpon Springs by Scott Fallon, Mickey Lorden and the Stingerz Band. $5 after 4 p.m.; $14 buffet. Noon Friday at Mulligan's Irish Pub at Wentworth Golf Club, 2990 Wentworth Way, Tarpon Springs. (727) 942-4760. Also 11 a.m. Friday at the Land O'Lakes Mulligan's, 23253 Plantation Blvd. (813) 996-4653.
St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans
Enjoy an Irish-themed drag show by Amy, Alisa, Amanda and cast at this party with music by DJ Charles Machado, $2 lucky shots all night, $1 drinks from 10-11 p.m., $3 Svedka drinks from 10 p.m. to midnight and sexy leprechaun dancers. Free, $5 after 10:30 p.m. The Honey Pot, 1507 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 247-4663. 10 p.m. Friday.
Multiple areas of entertainment with a lineup featuring the Whiskey Dregs, Jim Garrett, Johnny Feel Better, Bus Stop, Stormbringer, Power 90, Johnny Q and DJ Grimey. $10 cover after 2 p.m. O'Brien's Irish Pub, 701 W Lumsden Road, Brandon. (813) 661-9688. 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday.
O'Brien's North Tampa
The party starts at noon with bagpipers, performances by Scariff Academy of Irish Dance and music by Phoenix, the Wyndbreakers and the Danny Brantley Band. $10 cover. O'Brien's Irish Pub, 15435 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 961-4092. Noon-2 a.m. Friday.
Eat your fill from a large array of Irish dishes including Irishman's mac and cheese, corned beef steamship, Irish seafood stew and corned beef and cabbage. $45. Fresh Harvest at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 5223 N Orient Road, Tampa. (813) 627-7625. 4-10 p.m. Friday.
O'Maddy's party spills out onto the street with green beer, live music and food. No cover. O'Maddy's, 5405 Shore Blvd., Gulfport. (727) 323-8643. 11 a.m. to midnight Friday.
Get Stewed at Whistle Stop
The daily special is an Irish Stew and baked soda bread ($11.90) with live music by Steady Eddie (7-10:30 p.m.). No cover. Whistle Stop Grill, 915 Main St., Safety Harbor. (727) 726-1956. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday.
Irish dancers, live music, bagpipers and an expanded selection of Irish fare. Saturday features a Hangover Party. Join the Sea Saviors on a mission to finish the green beer. $10 Friday, no cover Saturday. O'Toole's Irish Pub, 1215 W Brandon Blvd., Brandon. (813) 684-2600. 10:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
Peggy O's throws an indoor-outdoor party with live music, bagpipers, Celtic dancers and face painting. Music lineup includes the Dunedin Pipe Band, Celtic Conundrum, Steve McNulty Band, Denny Dwyer, Jeriko Turnpike, Red Sunday, Mario Carranza and Lie Low. Festivities end outside at 11 p.m., but the party rolls on inside. Free. Peggy O's Kitchen and Taps, 1026 Florida Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 787-7734. Noon to 1 a.m. Friday.
Chic-A-Boom Triple Header
Blur, Chic-A-Boom Room and Kelly's join together to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with music by the Dunedin Pipe Band, $7 Jameson shots, $8 Irish Car Bombs, $6 Guinness, Harp and Smithwicks and tons of corned beef and cabbage. $5. Chic-A-Boom Room, 319 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 736-0206. 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday.
Three Birds, Three Pints
The indoor and outdoor all-ages party features traditional Irish fare, drink, music and performances by the Scariff School of Irish Dance. No cover. Three Birds Tavern, 1492 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-2049. 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday.
SPORTS AND FITNESS
St Patrick's Day 5K
Bagpipes send runners off from Main Street, through the Safety Harbor Marina and along Bayshore Boulevard. Includes a free beer and prizes for best St. Patrick's Day-themed costumes. Benefits the Fraternal Order of Police. $30 advance, $35 day of. Nolan's Pub, 230 Main St, Safety Harbor. (727) 586-6754. 10 a.m. Sunday.
An out-and-back 5K through Taylor Park with post-race activities, food and awards. $15-$30. St. Patrick Catholic School, 1507 Trotter Road, Largo. (727) 742-9091. 7:15 a.m. Saturday.
Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training
Rays players wear green hats during the game. All hats will be auctioned the benefit Rays community partners. Also, the first 500 kids 14 and younger receive a free bucket hat. $10-$32. Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte. 1-888-652-7223. 1:05 p.m. Friday.
Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training
The Phillies have themed activities and green attire on and off the field. $14-$39. Spectrum Field (formerly Bright House Field), 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. (727) 467-4457. 1:05 p.m. Friday.