Lexington set to celebrate 40th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Irish Festival

Published: Mar. 15, 2019 at 11:59 PM EDT
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The 40th annual Alltech St. Patrick's Parade and Irish Festival is set to take place Saturday, rain or shine, in downtown Lexington.

"This is like our second Christmas, it's wonderful," said Liza Betz, who owns Failte Irish Import Shop on South Upper Street. "There's such a huge Irish community here, and so it's even a way to be away from home, to celebrate it like this is great."

McCarthy's Irish Bar, located next to Failte, got the St. Patrick's Day party started on Friday with a special appearance by Ireland's own Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones.

The bar anticipates staying busy all weekend, Betz said.

Things get underway Saturday at 8 a.m. with the Shamrock Shuffle footrace, which benefits Lexington Habitat for Humanity.

The festival begins at 11 a.m. and features great food and performers from across Kentucky.

"There will be dancing and bands and all sorts of stuff relevant to Celtic culture," said Michelle Franzetti, special events service manager for Lexington Parks and Recreation.

"And then for the kids, we have things like a petting zoo, we have a kids' activities tents with a lot of local non-profits bringing great stuff for the children," Franzetti said.

The parade is set to begin at 1 p.m., running down Main St. from Midland Ave. to Mill St.

"It's just a way to celebrate being Irish, and we're a very very proud country, so when you're away from Ireland you even get prouder, so it's just a great way to celebrate our heritage and our culture," Betz said.

Franzetti said to expect some congestion Saturday near the parade route.