Pull out your best green duds and head to downtown Augusta on Friday, March 17, for an all-day celebration.
The Irish-American Heritage Society starts off the festivities by paying tribute to the patron saint of the day, St. Patrick, by observing Mass at 12:15 p.m. at The Church of the Most Holy Trinity, which was once known to Augustans as St. Patrick’s.
After the church service, it’s time for the parade, which follows the same route as it has followed for several years, according to Jimbo Thrash, parade chairman.
It begins at 2 p.m. at the James Brown Arena parking lot at Seventh Street, taking Telfair Street to 11th Street before turning onto Broad Street and ending at Sixth Street.
Michael Rucker serves as the grand marshal with Carol Eicher honored as the Irish Lady of The Year and the descendants of Richard and Mary Bowles as the Irish Family of the Year.
Thrash said other participants will include several local high school bands including those from Josey, Westside, Glenn Hills, Cross Creek and Butler high schools.
Once the parade is over, the Irish American Heritage Society will hand things off as the happenings continue with a new event that organizers hope will become an annual tradition especially since St. Patrick’s Day isn’t falling in the middle of the week for the next couple of years.
“We thought it was a good time to get involved,” said George Claussen IV, founder and chief executive officer of Friends With Benefits Productions, which has organized a new music festival to go along with St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
The event will be free and will feature a wide array of musicians beginning at 4 p.m. and going into the evening.
The music festival kicks off with Irish dancing at 4 p.m., followed by Eryn Eubanks and The Family Fold at 5 p.m. and then three tribute bands will perform. Scarlet Begonias who perform a tribute to the Grateful Dead will play at 6 p.m., with Black Dawg playing the songs of Led Zeppelin at 7:30 p.m. and Gimme Hendrix paying tribute to Jimi Hendrix wrapping up the evening at 9 p.m.
Claussen said he’s looking forward to the event and the musicians taking part.
“I think this is something that will help get people to come downtown,” he said.