St. Patrick’s Day Festivals and Parades!
Cultural celebrations and San Francisco go together like hands and mittens. Because of its incredible diversity and the pride that numerous cultures have in their various heritages, the City by the Bay is a natural locus for these festivals, parades, and weekends of multicultural exultation. On this blog alone, we’ve written extensively on celebrations of Pan-Asian, Filipino, Latino, and German heritages. Today, we are going to look at another such celebration, one that might at first sound so familiar as to be dismissed. Can you guess? We’ll give you a hint: green beer.
St. Patrick’s Day has been transformed in our era from an actual celebration of Irish traditions, hermitages, and culture into a bacchanalia that, above everything else, celebrates spectacle in all of its forms. But, as San Franciscans know, it doesn’t have to be that way.
To begin with, there is our parade. Now entering its 168th year, this is something that has deep, deep roots within the city. This year, it will take place on March 16th and will be the kickoff event of the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at City Hall. The festival itself begins at 10:00 in the morning and runs until 5:00 at night, with the parade – the highlight of the whole day – beginning at 11:30. In honor of the countless women who have been unduly neglected by history, the theme for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival is Women Breaking Barriers. It is fitting then that the Mayor London Breed, the first black woman elected to be the mayor of San Francisco, will be acting as the Grand Marshal at the head of the parade.
If you’re looking for St. Patrick-y things to do before the parade and festival, there are more than enough activities to entertain you. Consider, for example, attending the Front Street Royal Block Party on March 15th, from 3 in the afternoon until 11:00 at night. Or go instead to the United Irish Cultural Center for their Green Fest block party at Java Beach. Enjoy traditional Irish dance, beautiful face painting, and something referred to as “Jumping Castles!”
So many more events happening around the city during this celebration, meaning that you’re going to have to make some tough choices, but one thing is for certain: if you’re in San Francisco over the weekend of March 16th, there’s something going on!