Skip to main content

Paint the town green this weekend at the Alltech Lexington St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

March 11, 2024
St Patrick's Day Parade

The Alltech St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, March 16, is Lexington’s longest-running civic event.

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] — Celebrate Irish culture with festive music, dancing, food and fun this Saturday at the Alltech Lexington St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in downtown Lexington.

“We’re beyond thrilled to welcome the community to share St. Patrick’s weekend with us,” said Megan Moloney, president of the Bluegrass Irish Society and parade chair. “We’re ready to turn the bluegrass green.”

The begins at 8:30 a.m. with the Lexington Habitat for Humanity’s 18th Annual Shamrock Shuffle 3K, returning this year to downtown Lexington. Proceeds from the race help local families who need affordable housing. Click here to learn more and register for the race.

At 10:45 a.m. at the Henry A. Tandy Centennial Plaza (formerly the Fifth Third Pavilion), Father Norman Fischer will perform the traditional “blessing of the keg” of beer from Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

An exciting lineup of performers will take the stage from 11:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., including:

  • Bluegrass Ceili Academy, Lexington’s community Irish dance academy, showcasing the power and grace of traditional footwork.
  • Liam’s Fancy, a talented local group that blends traditional Irish tunes with contemporary flair, creating a unique and unforgettable sound.
  • William Sutherland Reid Pipes and Drums, which will deliver a powerful performance with the stirring sounds of bagpipes and drums.
  • McTeggart Irish Dancers, an energetic dance troupe that showcases the beauty and athleticism of Irish dance. Their energetic performances are a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.
  • Kentucky United Pipes and Drums, a band that honors the Celtic arts and traditions through public performances and by teaching Highland bag piping and Scottish-style pipe band drumming.
  • Celtic Blue, world-class musicians who bring the energy of Irish pub music to the stage with a repertoire of classic and contemporary tunes.
  • Draper Family Band, whose blend of traditional Irish music and bluegrass influences creates a unique and memorable experience.

The parade begins at 1 p.m. and goes down Main Street from Midland Avenue to Mill Street. This year’s grand marshal is Sandra Reid, pipe major of the William Sutherland Reid Pipes and Drums, which has led the parade every year since it was founded in 1980.

The Alltech Lexington St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival is Lexington’s longest-running civic event. Sponsored by Alltech and the Bluegrass Irish Society, the parade and festival are produced by the Lexington Division of Parks and Recreation with community support from local businesses and cultural organizations. Alltech has sponsored the parade since its inception.

“The Lexington St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade is a lovely celebration of Irish culture,” said Deirdre Lyons, Alltech cofounder and director of corporate image and design.

The Bluegrass Irish Society formed in 1980 to celebrate and maintain interest in Irish culture. One of its first events was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade gained instant credibility when then Gov. John Y. Brown and first lady Phyllis George Brown cosponsored it and arranged to have Ed McMahon from the Johnny Carson Show to serve as the first grand marshal.

The group aims to connect Irish and Kentucky culture and provide a focal point in the region for those interested in Ireland and its traditions.

“Listen to the fiddlers in Eastern Kentucky or the clog dancers and you will hear the refrains of Irish jigs and reels,” the Bluegrass Irish Society says on its website. “Kentuckians have long shared, among other things, their love for horses, music and bourbon whiskey-making with the Irish.”