Everybody’s Irish in March: The St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival

Seven local and regional performance groups will be taking the Irish festival stage on Saturday, March 12, as part of Lexington’s 37th Annual Alltech St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival. The lineup features musicians, singers and dancers from across Kentucky.

The festival is part of an all-day celebration that begins at 8 a.m. with the 10th annual Shamrock Shuffle to benefit Lexington Habitat for Humanity.  At 11 a.m., the annual “Blessing of the Keg” at the Alltech tents in Cheapside Park kicks off the free Irish festival.  The parade begins at 1 p.m.

“This year’s festival features a little bit of everything Celtic, including Irish dancers, Scottish pipers and some great bands, including one who mixes traditional Irish music with our more local bluegrass sound,” said Megan Moloney, vice president of the Bluegrass Irish Society and director of the Bluegrass Ceili Academy Irish dance school.  “We’re excited to bring these great performers back to our Fifth/Third Pavilion stage for this free, family-friendly event.”

The festival performances kick off with traditional Irish music from Lexington band Liam’s Fancy with special guests John Skelton, Bobby O’Byrne and Jeremy Wade playing until 12:45 p.m.  The parade then begins at 1 p.m. and makes its way down Main Street from Midland Avenue to Upper Street.

At 2 p.m., William Sutherland Reid Pipes and Drums play. Originally founded in 1975, the group has performed and competed locally and regionally at festivals, concerts and even opened for Rod Stewart at Rupp Arena.

Lexington’s Kentucky McTeggart Irish Dancers take over the stage at 2:30 p.m.  Since the mid-1990s, the McTeggart Irish Dancers have taught Irish dance to children and adults. This past November, McTeggart’s adult team won the 2015 Mid-American Oireachtas regional group dance championship.

Featured this year at 3 p.m. is “Bluegrass/Greengrass” band Cloigheann (pronounced by the band as “klog-in”). For more than 25 years, the band has blended its traditional Irish and bluegrass rtoots.

At 4 p.m., the Lexington Irish Dancers take the spotlight.  The non-competitive performance group regularly performs at local fairs and festivals, including appearances with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra at Picnic with the Pops.

Musician Paul Cullen performs for the crowd at 4:30 p.m.  A native of Ireland, Cullen brings the traditions of Irish song to our festival stage.

Wrapping up the festival performances is the shanty-singing duo Drunk & Sailor.  The band goes onstage at 5:30 p.m. with their high-energy, interactive show that’s sure to include audience participation.



pg06JMarch2016 (1)St. Patrick’s Calendar:

The Chieftains and Paddy Moloney play at the EKU Center for the Arts on Mar 9 at 7:30 pm. “The Chieftains have won an Oscar and six Grammys, released 58 albums, performed with everyone from Pavarotti, to the Rolling Stones, to Madonna. They are recognized for bringing traditional Irish music to the world’s attention.”

The St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival is on Mar 12 from 11 am – 7 pm in downtown Lexington. The parade starts at 1 pm on Main Street. The Festival is at the Cheapside Pavilion and Short Street all day.

The 10th annual Shamrock Shuffle 3K starts off on the intersection of Vine Street and Mill Street at 8 am on Mar 12.The Shamrock Shuffle is locally organized and all proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.There is a finish line party from 8 am – 9:30 pm at the Cheapside Pavilion. There will also be a costume contest and awards presentation at the Pavilion following the race. The course starts at the intersection of Vine Street and Mill Street and follows a flat course out Vine Street to Midland Avenue. The course turns around at the 1 mile mark on Midland Avenue and continues back into downtown via Main Street. The finish line is at the intersection of Main Street and Upper Street. The course will be closed to traffic.

Danú: A St. Patrick’s Celebration at Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, Mar 15. Danú is a traditional Irish ensemble hailing from County Waterford, Ireland. For two decades, they have performed around the globe using instruments such as flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, and bouzouki.

On Thursday, Mar 17, the doors open at 11 am and don’t close until 2:30 am at O’Neill’s Annual St. Patrick Day Celebration. Radio 80 takes the main stage, and there will also be door prizes, traditional Irish food, and much more.

On Mar 17, St. Patrick’s Day Weekend at the Holly Hill Inn features Irish Favorites as Chef Ouita’s restaurant visits Ireland for their Around the World in 80 Days Winter Dinner Club. Wear green!

The Pub at The Mall hosts a St. Paddy’s celebration on Mar 17 as well. There will be specials on jello shots, Guinness, green beer, and Irish whiskey. There will also be Guinness stew, banger dogs, and other Irish cuisine. Liam’s Fancy play live music from 8 – 11 pm.

Lynagh’s on 384 Woodland is hosting a St. Patrick’s Celebration on Mar 17, including Irish food and drink specials, and of course, green beer.

St. Patrick’s Weekend at Fort Boonesborough State Park from Mar 18 – Mar 20. There will be a shamrock hunt, a camper decoration contest, a treasure hunt, NCAA basketball on the satellite TV, free putt-putt, free historic tours, and more. There is also a continental breakfast on Sunday. For more info, call 859.527.3454.

This article also appears on page 6 of the March 2016 printed edition of the Hamburg Journal. 

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