On March 17th every year, the Irish (and the not-so-Irish) celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Patrick was born in Wales in the late 4th century and taken to Ireland as a slave. After escaping, he later returned to convert the Irish to Christianity. Throughout his life, he established monasteries, churches, and schools.
It was the Irish in America who transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a secular holiday and celebration. Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762. Since 1962, Chicago has colored its river green to mark the holiday. Naples has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with an annual parade for more than 40 years. A variety of other events are planned throughout March. Enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day fun!
Rhythm of the Dance: The National Company of Ireland
March 1 • 6 p.m. • Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center, 11515
Bonita Beach Rd. S.E., Bonita Springs
The show is an inspiring epic, reliving the journey of the Irish
Celts throughout history. Using modern art forms of dance and
music, this richly costumed show marries the contemporary and
the ancient. Check swflpac.com or call 239-389-6901 for more
Cape Coral Irish Festival
March 4 & 5 • Saturday, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. to
5 p.m. • Sun Splash Water Park, 400 Santa Barbara Blvd., Cape Coral
Enjoy two days of continuous Irish entertainment sponsored by the
Cape Coral Irish Club. Live music by West of Galway, Brendan
Nolan, Irish Stew, and many more; performances by local Irish
dance schools; games; art & crafts; vendors; food; refreshments;
and, of course, Irish beer! Check capecoralirishfest.com or call
239-574-0558 for more information.
Marco Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival
March 5 • 10 a.m. • Veterans Community Park, Marco Island
Organized by the Sons and Daughters of Erin, the parade ends
at Veterans’ Community Park with fun, games and food. Festival
runs until 5 p.m. Call 239-566-2367 or check colliergov.net for
Naples 41st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 11 • 11 a.m. • Fifth Avenue South, Naples
Through the hard work of many volunteers and the generous support
of patrons, the parade has prospered in the decades since its
launch more than 40 years ago. It is now the largest privately-funded
parade in the state. It draws over 40,000 people to downtown
Naples each year to celebrate Irish heritage and Irish culture in
America. Call 800-222-3333 or check naplesparade.com.
Baby Leprechaun Races
March 12 • 11 a.m. • Miromar Outlets, 10801 Corkscrew Rd., Estero
Join Miromar Outlets for this fun event in which babies must crawl
past the finish line to compete for prizes. For more information
St. Patrick’s Day 5K Fun Run
March 16 • 6 p.m. • 819 Vanderbilt Beach Rd., Naples
Kick off your St. Patrick’s Day festivities with a 5K Fun Run.
Participants are encouraged to dress in green and costumes. The
celebration will feature live music, a food truck, raffle giveaways,
costume contest, games, and a huge beer garden. The event is being
coordinated by Gulf Coast Runners. For more information, visit
gcrunner.org/stPatricks5k.html or email Mitch@gcrunner.org.
Annual St. Paddy’s Dinner Festival
March 17 • 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. • Southwest Performing Arts Center,
11515 Bonita Beach Rd. S.E., Bonita Springs
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish-inspired foods like corned
beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, and many more.
Entertainment includes performances by Irish dancers, Vertigo the
U2 Tribute band, and bag pipers. Visit capecoralirishfest.com.
A Little Bit o’ Blarney
March 17 • 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. • 2777 Tamiami Tr., Naples
The night features entertainment, dancing, a 50/50 cash raffle,
heavy appetizers, and a cash bar. Cocktail attire is requested. Benefits
Collier Child Care Resources (CCCR). Visit www.collierchildcare.
org or call CCCR at 239-643-3908.
St. Patrick’s Day Block Party
March 17 • 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. • Downtown Ft. Myers
Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in downtown Fort Myers. Music, food,
drink, and vendors. Bands include Tommy Bar, Hypnoticals, Electric
Mudd, and Marty Stokes. Check www.riverdistrictevents.
com or call 855-732-3836 for details.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
March 17 • 5 p.m. • Venetian Village, 4200 Gulf Shore Blvd., Naples
Enjoy a night of Irish dance performances and live music at Venetian
Village. Check venetianvillage.com.
Gaelic and Garlic Festival
March 18 & 19 • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. • St. John’s, 111th Ave. N., Naples
Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and Saint Joseph’s Feast on the same
weekend during this two-day event. There will be green beer, opera
music, Italian dancing, 5K fun run, car raffle, and a meatball eating
contest. For more information, call 239- 566-8740.