On Saturday, March 14, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival will take place in Balboa Park at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. The parade will start at 10:30 a.m. and the Irish festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival will feature Irish music, dancing food and crafts. Guinness beer will sponsor the huge beer garden and a free shuttle will ferry visitors from free parking zones at the Veteran’s Museum and the Air & Space museum.
This parade is the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade west of the Mississippi and will take place rain or shine. The event is free and visitors of all ages are welcome. The main stage in the beer garden will feature the local Irish bands Highland Way, The Downs Family, Tony Cummins, The Shamrockers, The Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas, and closes out with Scéal Eile.
The smaller North Stage will feature the band Calamity, the dancing of the Rose Richie and Clan Rince Irish dance studios, and renowned harpist Chiara Capobianco.
The parade will start at Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street, and continue down to Upas Street. There it will do a U-turn onto Sixth Avenue and terminate at the festival at Sixth and Laurel. Many Bankers Hill businesses will be open early and feature specials in honor of the parade.
The festival will also feature other international food fare as well as ice cream, sno-cones and coffee. A special all-ages section will be provided to those who wish to view the music stage without entering the beer garden. There will also be a raffle available to win prizes including two round-trip tickets to Ireland courtesy of Aer Lingus, and tickets to see Irish singer David Gray at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre on Aug. 2, courtesy of Live Nation.
All proceeds from the raffle and beer sales go to the Irish Congress of Southern California, a nonprofit organization that puts on the parade every year.
For info, go to stpatsparade.org.
— Vince Meehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.