Making St. Patrick's Day A 'Weekend'

March 14, 2014

(Photo courtesy of the city of Phoenix)
The stone arch at the Irish Cultural Center.

Monday is St. Patrick’s Day, but many of us like to make it a “weekend."

The celebration of Ireland’s patron Saint is shrouded in myth, mystery and traditions. In Ireland, it was marked by a big feast, a reprieve from Lent. But St. Patty’s Day parades really started in the U.S., the first one in Boston in 1737. Corned beef started here, too, when Irish immigrants in the U.S. bought cheap strips of beef and soaked it in brine to preserve it.

Both of these Irish-American traditions can be found in abundance this weekend in the Valley leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. One of the biggest events is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire in Hance Park downtown. Mary Moriarty is the operations manager for the Irish Cultural Center and chairperson of the fair.

"I kind of kid that it’s my little party for 5,000 of my closest friends, but when I see the little kids dancing and jumping up and down to the music and thousands of people having a good time, to me that’s everything because then that means we’re passing on the culture to the next generation," said Moriarty.

The parade starts Saturday at 10 a.m.  Sunday in Fountain Hills they are dying the water green in the fountain for their party. And on Monday, the actual holiday, the Celtic punk band Flogging Molly will perform at Tempe Beach Park.