By Dawn Krebs
MARTIN COUNTY -- Irish eyes and more will be smiling on the weekend of March 15 through 17, when the second annual Saint Patrick's Day parade and festival is held in Flagler Park in downtown Stuart.
The family-friendly, three-day event saw hundreds attend last year, and are expecting even more this time around. The entire thing is being presented by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Three days of Irish culture kick off at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 15 with plenty of dance, music, crafts and food.
"We have focused our efforts on providing a fun and enjoyable family event," said Lorraine McKenna, one of the organizers of the event, in a press release. "We want to promote warm hospitality to each of our Irish friends and those of you who just want to be Irish for the weekend."
Among the many foods to try will be corned beef and cabbage prepared by Manero's Restaurant in Palm City.
Children are included in the fun as well, with a Kid's Zone providing plenty of rides, arts and crafts and face painting.
On Saturday, festival goers will have full lineup of Irish music, complete with bands, bagpipes and more from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. As a special treat, the Rowdy Micks will be taking the stage for one performance.
On Sunday, Irish dancing from the Tir Na Greine School of Irish Dance will be featured, along with the Saint Patrick's Day parade, which will start at 2 p.m. The parade route will begin alongside the Martin County Courthouse Cultural Center and head north up Flagler Avenue to Flagler Park. The best viewing location are along Flagler Avenue from the festival's entrance gates down to the traffic circle at Colorado Avenue.
The festival opens at noon and closes at 9 p.m.
The Saint Patrick's Day Festival and Parade will be held from March 15 through 17 in Flagler Park, located under the Roosevelt Bridge, 201 Southeast Flagler Ave. in Stuart. Admission is $3 for those 13 and older, while 12 and under is free. For more information, call (772) 266-4087 or visit www.stuartirishfest.com.