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Capital City Celebrates St. Patrick

Tallahassee Irish Society

Sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle will be partying a-plenty in Tallahassee this weekend. 

Jack Madden is the treasurer of the Tallahassee Irish Society, which is hosting the party.  He’s also been connected with the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade since the beginning.

“The parade started in 1987 and it was done by the 20th Century Krewe of Springtime.  We did it through 1992,” Madden said.

For reasons too complicated to get into here, there was a break for several years.  And then Madden said the parade returned, growing steadily each year since.

“We’ve done parades then from 2000 to 2015 and this is the 22nd parade we’re doing.”

And the event has gone well beyond a simple parade.  In recent years, it’s turned into a festival.  It’s also found a permanent home in downtown Tallahassee, after bouncing around from Lake Ella to the Antique Car Museum.  Irish Society Executive Director Randall Webster said this year will include a new pre-parade attraction. 

“Just prior to the parade we’re having the First Annual Shamrock Shoes and Spokes Race, which is kind of an interesting event that we’re doing in partnership with the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association.  It’s a tandem fun race using wheelchairs and we can have any combination of abled persons or persons with disabilities,” Webster explained.

Then there’s the parade along College Avenue, which will have a record number of units this year.  Then the action moves to Kleman Plaza where, Webster said, music will be a huge part of the fun quotient.

“A little bit after 3 p.m. will be the Bothes, which will be a traditional Irish group.  Then we’re going to have a couple of skits at different times from the Southern Shakespeare Festival.  And then after that a good friend of mine from Cork, Ireland will be performing.  His name is Pat Horrigan.  He’s a brilliant singer/songwriter and a terrific Irish musician and he’ll be performing with one of our local musicians Mickey Abraham who will be on mandolin. And then after that we’ll have the Tallahassee Irish Step Dancers and all that happens between about three and seven in the afternoon.”

All that accompanied by food trucks and many other delightful distractions.  Webster added the fun would continue into the evening hours.

“Starting at 7 p.m. we’ll have the more adult portion of the festival, which is our beer garden, and that will be up on the IMAX Plaza and entertainment will be by ‘Crooked Kilts’, which is an Irish rock group.”

The wearin’, and perhaps a wee bit of the drinkin’ of the green, in downtown Tallahassee this Saturday (March 14).