Parades, festivals, music, dance, and more. Here’s how you can celebrate st. Patrick’s Day in Phoenix.
Ranjani Venkatakrishnan/

A few hundred years ago, celebrating St. Patrick was pretty simple. You sat down to a feast on March 17, believed to be the date of his death.

But it’s hard to imagine a St. Patrick’s Day with no parades, no beer gardens, no green tinting of fountains.

Fortunately for those who find joy in green derbies and blinking shamrock ties, there are plenty of events around the Phoenix metro area and across Arizona to appeal to the Irish in everyone. 

Here are some notable St. Patrick’s 2018 celebrations.

3/16-17: Kilt and Kiss Me I’m Irish runs

Partying is easy. Running is a lot harder, especially over relatively long distances. But this event also provides an opportunity to burn valuable pre-beer calories.

The fun starts Friday, March 16, with the 1K Kilt Run, where organizers hope to have at least 1,765 entrants to break the record for world’s largest run involving people wearing kilts. As an added incentive, beer will be served at the Kilt Run finish line. On Saturday, things get serious with 4K, 8K and half-marathon races.

Details: Kilt Run is at 6 p.m. Friday, March 16. Half-marathon starts at 7 a.m., 4K and 8K at 7:17 a.m. Saturday, March 17. Westgate Entertainment Center, Glendale. $30-$105.

3/16-17: Whisky tasting at Riordan Mansion

As you can tell by the spelling, this event centers around Scottish whisky rather than Irish whiskey. But are you going to let a single “e” keep you from indulging in fine beverages while sitting in an elegant dining room that whisks you back in time?

The event is made possible through partnership with Riordan Action Network and Northern Arizona Celtic Heritage Society, if that helps assuage any Irish-born guilt.

Details: 6-7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, March 16-17. Riordan Mansion Historic State Park, 409 W. Riordan Road, Flagstaff. Prices based on whisky served.

3/16-18: Pot of Gold Music Fest

You don’t need an Irish-infused celebration as an excuse for a music festival, but you might as well take advantage of circumstances.

More than 30 bands will perform over the three days at Rawhide on the Gila River Reservation. Headliners include Russ, Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band and Rebelution. There also will be a vendor village, an arcade alley with vintage pinball games, and plenty of food and drink for sale.

MORE: Arizona Music Festivals 2018

Details: Noon-midnight Friday-Sunday, March 16-18. Rawhide Western Town, 5700 W. North Loop Road, Gila River Reservation. $75-$220. Parking is $10.

3/16-18: Fountain O’ Green Artisan Market

This arts and crafts fair isn’t competing with the official Fountain Hills party, but complementing it.

Like the city’s festival, the market will feature food vendors and live music, plus dozens of booths filled with arts and crafts for sale. It’s also open three days rather than one.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, March 16-18. Free. 16872 Avenue of the Fountains, Fountain Hills.

3/17: St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Family Faire

One of Phoenix’s largest events starts at 10 a.m. Saturday with a parade full of floats, pipe bands and Irish step dancers.

Festivities continue with the Irish Faire featuring three stages of Irish music and dancing. Children can check out activities in the kids area while adults are invited to have an Irish brew or two at the lounge. Curious if there might be any Irish in you? Genealogy experts will help you explore your family tree.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 17. Parade starts at Third and Sheridan streets, the fair is at Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W. Culver St., Phoenix. Free for parade, fair is $12, $20 for VIP Lounge, free for ages 12 and younger. 602-280-9221,


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3/17: Shamrockfest

Welcome to 12 hours of drinking, dancing and music. More than 12,000 people are expected for this party sponsored by Murphy’s Law, the Irish pub in downtown Chandler.

Alien Ant Farm headlines the fest, and the lineup includes local rock band Wyves as well as Carvin Jones. For a little cultural flair, look no further than the bagpipes of the Arizona Fire Service Pipe Band.

Details:  11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, March 17. Dr. A.J. Chandler Park,  178 E. Commonwealth Ave., Chandler. $10, $80 for VIP, free for age 12 and younger.

3/17: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Most St. Patrick celebrations revolve around green derbies and “Kiss me I’m Irish” buttons. In Chloride, a former mining camp near Kingman, they take it a bit further with a parade filled with entrants trying to outdo one another when it comes to outlandish decorations.

Once the procession ends, enjoy live music, raffles, a silent auction and perhaps a shootout or two as presented by gun-slinging re-enactors.

Details: Noon Saturday, March 17. Downtown Chloride, off U.S. 93 about 24 miles north of Kingman. Free. 928-565-9777.

3/17: Irish Fountain Fest

Can it really be St. Patrick’s Day without turning at least one large body of water green? Nope.

Fountain Hills will comply by turning its famous fountain into a green geyser. Before the water spouts with an Irish tint, enjoy live music, kids activities, a beer garden, food trucks and more. The water will go green at 4 p.m.

Details: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 17. Fountain Park, 12925 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills. Free.

3/17: Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival

Tucson’s lively downtown will get even livelier with music, dancing, food and more. Organizers also hope the event will inform as much as it entertains, raising awareness through Irish language, music and arts.

Details: Festival opens at 10 a.m., parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 17. Armory Park, 222 S. Fifth Ave., Tucson. Parade starts at Stone Avenue and 17th Street. Free.

3/17: Lucky St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

It may be a banner day for green beer, overzealous partying and shared ride services, but there may be no better way to celebrate than with sugar-packed baked goods prepared by tiny fingers.

Kids are encouraged to immerse themselves in cupcake making, producing treats that may not win any beauty contests but will surely win the hearts of parents. And when it comes to the wearing o’ the green, it will probably be frosting.

Details: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 17. Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 N. Seventh St. $4, $3 for members. Reservations recommended.

3/17-18: Arizona Renaissance Festival Celtic Weekend

The Arizona Renaissance Faire takes on an Irish twist and a dappling of green.

As you enjoy jousting knights and people in elaborate, if not uncomfortable, outfits, look for a leprechaun or two amid the crowds. Show off your spirit at the Wearin’ of the Green contest at 2 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, the Arizona Colleens visit the fair.

Can you order a green turkey leg? No. If you get one? Ask for a different one.

RELATED: A guide to all spring festivals in Phoenix from March through May

MORE: Huzzah! Arizona Renaissance Festival 2018 opens Feb. 10

Details:  10 a.m-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, March 17-18. 12601 U.S. 60, Gold Canyon. $25, $15 for ages 5-12, free for age 4 and younger.

3/18: ShamROCK Half Marathon and Little Leprechaun Sprint

Evidently Irish-themed running events are a thing for St. Patrick’s Day. Adults may want to chase away a  post-Patrick hangover with a half-marathon, 10K or 5K run in Tempe. Kids are encouraged to enter the shorter sprint.

Details: 8 a.m. Sunday, March 18. Tempe Town Lake, 100 E. Rio Salado Parkway. $20-$70.

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