Tucson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival Kisses the Blarney This Saturday

March 12, 2014

Thousands of revelers packed the streets last year, and not a single one was pinched for not wearing green, thank you get much. Well, maybe that one guy.

Thousands of revelers packed the streets last year, and not a single one was pinched for failure to wear green, thank you very much. Well, maybe that one guy.

by James J. Jefferies

“The kind of person that would bust me wouldn’t even go to a parade.” -Ferris Bueller

“My mother would.” -Cameron Frye

Thankfully, for anyone with a four-leafed interest in celebrating all things Irish, the good organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Tucson Committee have averted your sound excuse for truancy and kindly scheduled this year’s slate of St. Patty’s festivities for Saturday, March 15th. (Celebrating said holiday on a Monday would certainly not set your work week off terribly well.) The fun is set to begin at Stone Ave and 16th St at 11am, with the one-hour parade planned to loop around to Armory Park after a short trek through Downtown. The festival itself will also commence right there at Armory Park at 10am, if you’re simply down to begin celebrating and aren’t big on parades.

'A' Mountain? Nope, didn't get pinched either. Tucson's St. Patrick's Day game is unassailable!

‘A’ Mountain? Nope, didn’t get pinched either. Tucson’s St. Patrick’s Day game is unassailable!

This year’s event will feature live Irish music, dancers, entertainment, a children’s game area, along with food, drink, and merchandise vendors. There will be floats, military units, local dignitaries, media and entertainment personalities, and civic, cultural, and social groups, including participants such as the Arizona Irish Music Society, Tucson Irish Community, the Irish Cultural Center, Emerald Isle Society, Tucson Celtic Festival & Scottish Highland Games, and the Tucson Irish Heritage Foundation.

This year’s parade theme is ‘Our Strength Is Our People’. Adding credence to this theme is the fact that this year’s parade features over 1,000 folks marching as part of more than 70 specific entries, according to Committee President John Murphy. “We’d love to give a great big thank you to all of our volunteers, who really make this yearly event the special thing it’s come to be,” said Murphy.

Murphy also cited the contributions of the parade’s host, Robin McArdle-Landers, and this year’s Grand Marshal, George O’Leary, who is a fixture in the Tucson Irish community for his longtime commitment to Irish dance. This year’s event is expected to top last year, with organizers estimating about 10,000 will attend this year.

Authentic Irish cuisine? Doubtful. Ridiculously fun, and achingly Tucson? Bingo!

Authentic Irish cuisine? Doubtful. Ridiculously fun, and achingly Tucson? Absolutely.

Although St. Patrick’s Day is commonly viewed as a largely celebratory holiday steeped in rich Irish cultural traditions, the Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival does indeed benefit a serious and worthy cause. This year, a portion of the proceeds from the big day’s events will go to the Children of Fallen Police Officers’ Scholarship Fund. The foundation was established to support the families of public service officers who have passed away due to injury, accident, or illness. “The public service work of police and firefighting personnel has always been close to the Irish heart,” said Murphy.

Bring the entire family and make a fantastic Downtown day of music, dance, and refreshments out at Armory Park, and know that part of what you’ve spent with merchants on beer, food, and other goodies will be finding its way to a terrific cause. For more information, please check out the Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Annual Parade and Festival home page here!