Charlotte is one of the premier destinations in the Southeast for travelers looking for a get away. The largest city in North Carolina has struck a balance between being a financial powerhouse and a tourist magnet. Visitors to Charlotte will find that the city’s events are diverse and the ideal way to get to know the city.
The Charlotte St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Charlotte Goes Green Festival have played major roles in the community for over two decades, and will continue this tradition in 2017 on Saturday, March 18th, with the parade beginning at 11:00 am. Bagpipe music, vibrant floats, live performers, and more, will keep parade attendees entertained before the rest of the festivities begin. The festival runs throughout the day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and is the ideal location to continue the St. Patrick's party after the parade. It’s free to enter and will feature Irish dancers, bagpipers, music, and a vendor area. There will also be a children's area with activities and food options for a variety of culinary tastes. We got the chance to interview Frank Hart, a representative for the event, to talk about this great Charlotte experience.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
FH: The Charlotte St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Charlotte Goes Green Festival have been running for 21 years.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
FH: We average around 135 entries with about 3,500 marchers in our parade. We have had upwards of 80,000 people there to watch the parade, and probably average over 45,000 on an annual basis.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event?
FH: We see people aged 6 to 60! We have a lot of young families that bring their kids out.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
FH: It has something for everyone. We have a terrific parade followed by a day-long festival.
RAL: What activities will patrons encounter?
FH: The parade will start at the intersection of N. Tryon St. and 9th St., then it marches south to 3rd St. and takes a left, then it ends at the corner of 3rd St. to Caldwell. An entertainment stage will feature Irish music by the Federal Clan Kings and Mulligan’s Banned. There will also be dancers from two schools of Irish dance, a pipe and drum band performance, and children’s amusements.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
FH: Our festival emcee is Wilson from WCCB.
RAL: Will there be dining options available?
FH: Yes, we have about 13 food vendors ranging from smoothies to full plated dinners.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
FH: The parade and festival take place in the Center City, so you have all of the big chains like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt Place and Holiday Inn. The Dunhill is a cool boutique hotel located right in the middle of the parade route. If you are looking for economical options, there are hotels/motels out on I-85 and I-77.
RAL: Is there one place in particular that guests have been flocking to since the event started?
FH: The Marriott Courtyard on S. Tyron St. is literally in the middle of all the action.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
FH: It's the first outdoor event of the year and a fun time for all who attend.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
FH: Yes, we draw a local, regional, and national audience
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
FH: Entry fees to the parade raise money for the operation of the parade. We are totally funded by application fees and receive no other funding at this time.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
FH: We say ours is Charlotte’s most fun parade, offering something for everyone. We march down the heart of Main Street Charlotte. Once the parade ends, it’s on to the free festival. Have some lunch on the open plaza and then spend some time watching the live entertainment that runs non-stop from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Dress up in your best green and join us where everyone is Irish for a day. You will find all ages enjoying the day. We have one family that creates one of the best float entries and has over 250 members for a family reunion. Come and join us!
For more information about the Charlotte St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Charlotte Goes Green Festival, please visit the event website.