Rick's Reviews: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

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Did you hear about the Irish drag queen? Her name is Patty O’Furniture! While Fort Lauderdale may not have as large a percentage of Irish residents as Northern cities such as New York, Boston or Chicago, that doesn’t mean our folks of Irish heritage are any less proud. 

The Fort Lauderdale St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival (stpatsftl.com) kicks off on Friday “on Friday, March 9 from 4 - 7 p.m. at Huizenga Plaza (located at the corner of Las Olas and Andrews), with an “Irish Party in Park.” The free event will feature an Irish Happy Hour, live bands, the legendary striping of the street, céilí line dancing, and more!

On Saturday, March 10. at 7 a.m. the Shamrock Run begins at Huizenga Plaza (Las Olas and Andrews Avenue), immediately followed by the “Lucky Little Leprechaun Dashes” for kids. Festivities will continue throughout the morning with live music and entertainment leading up to the largest St. Patrick’s Parade in South Florida. 

The St. Patrick’s Parade starts at noon and travels west along Las Olas from S.E. 5 Ave. through the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale.  Led by Grand Marshal Mayor Jack Seiler, this year’s parade will feature a special appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales.  The colorful cavalcade will include more than 100 decorative floats, pipe and drum corps, classic automobiles, bagpipers, marching bands, Irish dancers, street performers, scout troops, local sports teams and Veterans groups.

Following the parade, the festival will run until 7 pm at Huizenga Plaza and along the Riverwalk.  Highlights will include live bands, Irish dancers, interactive entertainment, cultural attractions and an expanded Kids Zone featuring bounce houses, gigantic slides, pony rides, a trackless train, face painting, a petting zoo and mechanical rides.  Featured performers will include the American Legion Symphonic Band, Kelly Academy of Irish Dance, the Fineans, Aranmore Academy of Irish Dance, Celtic Bridge, Drake School of Irish Dance and more. 

A preview viewing of the Budweiser Clydesdales will take place on Wednesday, March 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fort Lauderdale Police Mounted Unit stables, located in Holiday Park. 

In addition to viewing the Clydesdales, the free event will feature tours of the Fort Lauderdale Police Mounted Unit stables, a petting zoo, and pony rides. Later that evening there’s a more formal party from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. presented by Galleria Fort Lauderdale.  This VIP fundraising event will feature a private tour of Clydesdale stables, along with an Irish band, Irish dancers, bagpipers, hors d’oeuvres and beverages.  Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased at www.stpatsftl.com.  Proceeds will benefit the City of Fort Lauderdale and the City of Hollywood St. Patrick’s Parades.

If that’s not enough celebrating, head up to Delray the following day beginning at 11 a.m. with the parade running down Atlantic Ave. from 2-4 p.m. and live music continuing at Old School Square until 7p.m.

Hollywood has its own parade and festival planned on Sunday, March 12.  The City of Hollywood and The New Hibernians of Hollywood team up to host an annual, free “celebration of all things Irish.” The parade begins at 1 p.m. and will take place on Hollywood Blvd. Radio personality Footy will emcee the parade featuring dozens of floats, local marching bands and spectacular bagpipe and drum corps including the famous New York Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Corps. This year’s parade Grand Marshal is 90-year-old Peggy Campbell.  Campbell traces her Irish heritage back to County Mayo and County Sligo in Ireland. Over the years, she has participated in more than 37 St. Patrick’s Day parades in Hollywood, Miami and Fort Lauderdale and is a member of the Claddagh Ceili and Set Dancers. 

Anniversary Park will go green and transform into the “Magic of the Emerald Isle” with an exciting line-up of traditional Irish entertainment and award-winning Irish bands including Joe Dougherty, Celtic Dream and a U2 Tribute Show. Downtown Hollywood restaurants will be offering festival specials including Irish favorites such as corned beef & cabbage, shepherd’s pie and green-colored drinks! For more information, go to stpatricksparade.com or call 954-921-3404.

Many restaurants and pubs throughout town are offering specials in honor of the holiday. Georgie’s Alibi/Monkey Bar will hold its regular Friday night fish & chips special; breaded and fried Tilapia served with French fries and house made tartar sauce. 

The Spice Lab will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with free samples of Left-Hand Brew Co – Nitro Milk Stout. Join them from noon to closing for the unveiling of its new featured beer and free tastings of meats and cheeses. 

McSorley's Beach Pub opens at 10 a.m. and offers an Jameson Irish Whiskey Shot Luge, green Bud Light, Guinness on tap, $5 green tea shots and $3 Jello shots. Its sister gastropub, Stout, also opens at 10 and features a full Irish menu, Irish music, bagpipers & Irish dancers! It also boasts a Jameson Irish whiskey shot luge, green beer and Guinness-on-tap.

TooJay’s restaurants will be serving up a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, Famous Murphy’s seafood chowder and a chocolate covered Irish cream cheesecake.

Death or Glory in Delray Beach will hold a “Party in the Parking Lot” starting at 5 p.m. Complimentary flower crowns will be offered to the first 50 guests, as well as complimentary Gunpowder Irish gin cocktails. House made shepherd’s pie and a vegan shepherd’s pie will be available. Smith & Wollensky is holding what it calls “The Ultimate Steak & Whiskey Event” through March 18. In addition to showcasing Irish-American Whiskey cocktails and a specialty tasting flight, the restaurant chain will offer Double R Ranch USDA prime Bone-In New York cut aged in a whiskey-soaked cheesecloth for 30 days. At the other end of the price spectrum, Dairy Queen is rolling out a fan favorite just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The St. Patrick’s Day-inspired Mint Oreo Blizzard is on the menu for a limited time only. The seasonal treat is a cool, sweet and crunchy blend of Oreo cookie pieces and cool crème de menthe, blended together with vanilla soft serve. 


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