Paddy Fest St. Pete, the city’s biggest-ever St. Patrick’s Festival, comes to Williams Park on Friday

Paddy Fest St. Pete, the city’s biggest-ever St. Patrick’s Festival, comes to Williams Park on Friday

People attending a festival
Photo courtesy City of St. Petersburg

A limited number of VIP tickets for Paddy Fest St. Pete are still available, which include a full lunch *and* dinner of Irish food, an open bar throughout the entire event, access to private restrooms, and plush furniture.

Get your shamrocks on deck, becuase Paddy Fest St. Pete is coming to downtown St. Pete. This Friday, March 17 in Williams Park, Paddy Fest St. Pete, presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey, is an all-day, open-air party in downtown set to become the largest St. Patrick’s Day event in St. Pete history.

From 10 am – 10 pm, the entire day and night are a celebration of all things Celtic, complete with tons of Irish food (be ready for fish and chips, corned beef, and cabbage), Irish drinks (hello, Jameson and Guinness), live Irish music (including multiple sets from the world champion Dunedin Pipe Band), tons of yard games, some of the city’s best food trucks, a local vendor market, and TVs spread throughout the park broadcasting March Madness basketball games. There will even be traditional step dancing from Gilleoghan Irish Dancers.

Two people toasting with beers
Photo courtesy City of St. Pete

Admission to the festival is $5, which includes a free green beer upon entry, and proceeds from the entrance fee go to the Ocean Aid 360 charity. Festival hosts are also offering a VIP package that includes all-you-can-eat-and-drink for the duration of the event, as well as a specialty afternoon Irish whiskey tasting and educational experience courtesy of Red Breast Irish Whiskey. Paddy Fest will also feature the Guinness “Perfect Pour Tent,” where those of age can learn how to pour their own proper pint and keep the glass.

This massive festival in the park is a joint effort between the City of St. Pete and the team behind St. Patrick’s Day staples Mary Margaret’s Irish Pub and The Galley, with a huge assist from Jameson Irish Whiskey (whose wares will be readily available throughout the park). It’s the same group who put on Tampa Bay’s biggest World Cup watch parties at Williams Park and Jannus Live at the end of 2022, which proved to be a fantastic experience.

Of course, while Paddy Fest is primarily a Celtic celebration, it’s also an opportunity to support an incredible local cause. Proceeds from the event will benefit Ocean Aid 360, a St. Pete-based non-profit focused on marine habitat restoration. More than $10K was raised for Ocean Aid 360 through the World Cup watch parties, and organizers look forward to making yet another meaningful donation after the festival.

A check being presented to Ocean Aid 360

St. Paddy’s Festival celebrates all things local

One of the best facets of the festival, of course, is the emphasis on supporting local artists and businesses. Many of our favorite St. Pete food trucks will be on hand, including Pamz Pizza Conez and La Strada (if you haven’t tried either, rectify that soon), and celebrated local chef Sean Ford will be leading the way on creating and serving authentic Irish dishes.

The deep roster of food trucks offers something for any palate, with Ty Ty’s Backyard BBQ, Charm City, Honey Hole Eats, Mini Mouthful, Slammer Shop, JB’s Sweet Addiction, and Galvin’s Irish Goodies. For lunch, dinner or an afternoon snack, there’s food for any need. There will also be area makers and artists showcasing their goods in the vendor market.

There’s even a big local tie in the organization of the event itself. Paddy Fest is largely being organized by Pete Boland and Kat Van Dora, a pair of born-and-raised locals who have spent more than a decade together throwing parties full of green beer and Jameson shots. The duo runs Mary Margaret’s Irish Pub together, and they got their start in the industry when the two began working at Courigan’s Irish Pub back in 2009, making this their 14th-straight St. Patrick’s party to throw for St. Pete.

“It’s nice to come full circle here,” Boland said. 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.”

The World Cup watch party at Williams Park
The World Cup watch party in Williams Park

Paddy Fest St. Pete presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey takes place from 10 am – 10 pm on Friday, March 17. The park will be fenced in, and admission after 5 pm is 21+ only. General admission passes are $5 and include a free green beer. Live music starts at 11 am and lasts all day, with Stormbringer capping off the celebration with a two-hour set from 8-10 pm.

A music schedule

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