From spending a day exploring the Sonoran Desert’s gorgeous landscape to sampling the most exquisite cuisine in the region, Phoenix is the ultimate destination for an Arizona getaway. The city is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream featuring more land designated for parks and preserves than any other major American city. Some must-visit sites include Camelback Mountain, Papago Park, and Desert Botanical Garden. Whether you’re in the mood for world-class cuisine or sampling meals at local favorites, the restaurant selection is world class. Make sure not to leave without eating at Cafe Monarch, Little Miss BBQ, and Binkley’s.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Faire has been the leading St. Patricks Day experience in the region for more than three decades, and it will take place March 17 in Downtown Phoenix. This year’s parade will begin at the intersection of 3rd Street and Sheridan and make its way south through the downtown area. Attendees will encounter a vibrant celebration of Irish culture complete with colorful floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, bagpipe players, and more. The Faire will take place immediately following the parade at the Irish Cultural Center at Hance Park. Patrons will find live entertainment on three stages including Irish Music, step dancing, bagpipes, and more. Kids will gravitate toward the children's area, which will feature live performances and games. Those in search of refreshment will encounter a variety of favorite local food and drink vendors. Also in the vendor area, attendees can purchase Irish crafts, learn about Irish clubs, and even trace genealogy. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Director of Marketing, Jeff Aspland, to learn more about this massive St. Patrick's Day celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
JA: The first Parade was in 1984. The Faire started a few years later.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
JA: The Parade usually attracts from 40,000 to 75,000 people, and the Faire gets from 3,000 to 5,000 people.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
JA: We draw from all demographics. We are celebrating St. Patrick's Day with the Valley of the Sun. Everyone is welcome!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
JA: All cultural events are unique in that they showcase their particular culture. We showcase Irish and Celtic culture.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
JA: We will have three stages featuring different types of Irish music from Ceili to Celtic Rock. There will also be Irish step dancers, a kids area and kids stage, food vendors, craft booths, and libations. People can stop by the Tea House where you can get a "cuppa" and Irish baked goods. The Irish Cultural Center will be holding an Irish Celebration of Tea, and the McClelland Library will be holding a book sale.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
JA: Our Grand Marshal is Craig Fouhy, our Irish Person of the Year. Don McMasters will also make an appearance, and you never know who else will show up.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
JA: We run the gamut from Irish foods like Shepherd's Pie to festival fare.
RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?
JA: It's one big Irish party!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
JA: The event is next door to the Found:re Hotel which is a beautiful boutique hotel and home to Match restaurant.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
JA: Yes, because we get many out of towners with interest in Irish events. We host a variety of out-of-town vendors as well.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
JA: We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so we need funds to continue the event. We also contribute to the Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
JA: We put on a delightful event to help everyone celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
For more information about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Faire, please visit the event website.