The free event has quickly grown into one of Fort Lauderdale’s largest and most anticipated festivals, attracting thousands of spectators for a one-of-a-kind celebration of all things Irish.
This year, the pageantry and excitement begins bright and early at 7:30 am with the Celtic 4 Miler, a four mile run featuring thousands of runners clad in green racing down Las Olas to the Intracoastal Bridge and back. The Celtic 4 Miler will be followed by a 2 Mile “Stretch of the Legs” Walk and a Kids “Catch the Leprechaun and his pot of Gold” 1 mile fun run. To register, visitwww.celtic4miler.com.
Festivities continue throughout the morning at Huizenga Plaza with live music from the Joe Dougherty Band, a high school drum line competition, and plenty of fun and games for the kids. At 11 am, join Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler for official welcome and a traditional Irish Blessing, then it’s time for the largest St. Patrick’s Parade in South Florida.
The St. Patrick’s Parade begins at noon and travels west along Las Olas Boulevard from S.E. 5th Avenue to Las Olas Riverfront. The colorful parade will feature more than 100 decorative floats, pipe and drum corps, classic automobiles, bagpipers, marching bands, animals, Irish dancers, street performers, scout troops, local sports teams, Veterans groups and, for the first time, the legendary Wells Fargo Stagecoach!
Following the parade, stick around for the best Irish celebration in town at the St. Patrick’s Festival, which runs until 7:00 pm at Huizenga Plaza and along the Riverwalk. Highlights will include live bands, Irish dancers, interactive entertainment, and cultural attractions. Featured performers include: Celtic Bridge, Kelly School of Irish Dance, American Legion Symphonic Band, Aranmore Academy of Irish Dance, Fineans, Ciaran Soden Irish Singers, Drake School of Irish Dance, and more!
At 5:30 pm, get ready for the ultimate U2 experience as the City of Fort Lauderdale welcomes U2BYUV to the St. Patrick’s Festival for a return engagement! Led by front man Michael Schmidt, this nationally acclaimed group will leave fans speechless with their honest, authentic performances. The band’s intense, action-packed sets feature U2 favorites ranging from the early days of “Boy” to “Songs of Innocence” and everything in between.
In addition to outstanding entertainment, families and youngsters will love the festival’s expanded Kids Zone featuring bounce houses, gigantic slides, pony rides, a trackless train, face painting, a petting zoo, mechanical rides, and much more!
The festivities will also include exhibitor booths, arts and crafts, souvenirs, and plenty of your favorite Irish food and beverages.
So make plans to arrive early, grab a great viewing spot, and enjoy the best Irish celebration in town. And don’t forget to wear your green!
For more information about the Fort Lauderdale St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival, call the event hotline at (954) 828-5985 or visit www.stpatsftl.com.