St. Patrick’s Day Festivities Set for Sunday, March 13

March 8, 2016

This li'l pup wants to see you at the parade.

This li’l pup wants to see you at the parade.

By Simon Brimmer

Freedom Rising is the theme of this year’s 29th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival.

“It is the longest, and in my opinion, the hottest party in Tucson, AZ.,” said organizer John Murphy. “Our theme this year is Freedom Rising because 2016 is the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising, which is the most significant political, economic and [Irish] societal occurrence in the 20th century, and maybe in all Irish recorded history.”

The five-day rebellion in April of 1916, centered mostly in and around Dublin, was an effort to procure freedom from British rule.

“Everyone wants (freedom), but it is near impossible to define,” said Murphy in a correspondence to Tucson event participants. “You know it when you see it and you know what it is when you don’t have it. In the eternal hope of the human heart, freedom is always just around the next bend.”

In the case of the St. Patrick’s festivities, freedom’s bend takes rowdy partiers to Armory Park beginning at 10 am Sunday the 13th, and going “until 5 or 6 depending on how many people are still standing by the end of the day,” said Murphy.

The Society for Perpetual Indulgence float in 2013.

The Society for Perpetual Indulgence float in 2013.

The annual parade is scheduled for 11, and will begin just south of Armory Park. Timothy Patrick Prendiville is this year’s Grand Marshal.

“Tim personifies the spiritual center of the Tucson Irish community,” said Murphy in a press release. “There isn’t an Irishman in Tucson who hasn’t felt Tim’s compelling spiritual influence. Tim has lent his talents to many an Irish organization: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival Committee, the Irish Heritage Foundation, the Emerald Isle Society, the Liturgy & a Meal Program, Chaplain to the Green A Brigade. Tim’s long-held value of community service is slowly touching us all.”

At the event itself, “We’re going to have Irish food and drink and Irish rock and roll,” Murphy said. “The group is The Sea Merchants, so you’ll hear some Pogues and Dropkick Murphys, and maybe some Flogging Molly. In the past the show has been more traditional music, but this particular group putting together the music likes rock and roll.”

Murphy expects roughly 5,000 fun-loving, hearty partiers to get their Irish on, all the while assisting the Parade and Festival Committee’s 501c3 non-profit mission, which helps raise money for scholarship donations to sons and daughters of fallen first responders.

For more info on festivity happenings, check out for details, directions and a schedule of events.