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Weekend Adventures in Bradenton: St. Patrick's Day Weekend


BRADENTON – There's much to do this St. Patrick's Day weekend whether you're son or daughter of Erin, a wee bit Irish, or only for one day a year. There's music in the park, Sean Murphy's annual parade on the island and even a Shamrock Pub Run. There might not be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but there will be plenty of green beer and maybe even a leprechaun or two. Put on your green and grab your shillelagh, it's time for an Irish Weekend Adventure in Bradenton!

Things get started Friday night with Music in the Park at RiverWalk with the RJ Howson Band. Fire branded in the Chicago blues circuit, roots rocker and bluesman RJ Howson picked up his skillful guitar chops performing and jamming with blues icons at Buddy Guy’s Legends club, Rosa’s Lounge, Kingston Mines, BLUES on Halstead, and many other clubs in the Windy City.

Friday night, Howson and company bring their show to Bradenton. The event is free and takes place in the new amphitheater at RiverWalk, just behind the new Manatee Performing Arts Center on 3rd Avenue West, east of U.S. 41 in downtown Bradenton. Get out and hear some live music, then take in the sights downtown on Old Main Street, which will be livening up, just as the show winds down.

Also on Friday, Anna Maria's newest mural will be dedicated. A fantastic piece of artwork now adorns one of the brightly colored buildings along Pine Avenue, playing homage to the colorful history of Anna Maria Island. On Friday, during the Porch Party (5-7 p.m.) the artist John Allinson, will be dedicating the painting and unveiling a plaque alongside it.


The mural, which can now been seen at 314 Pine Avenue, was commissioned by Mike and Lizzie Thrasher of the Anna Maria Historic Green Village, and painted by John Allinson, a Welsh artist now living on Anna Maria, who, in 2012, was awarded an O visa by the Federal Government for his services to art.

The painting depicts images from the island during the early part of the 20th Century.  During this time, passenger steamers brought visitors and produce from Tampa to the island. The ships would berth against the city pier as they unloaded provisions for the few people, mostly fishermen, who lived there. 

Sunday is St. Patrick's Day and you can get your green beer on downtown. Get an early start at the 5k Shamrock pub run to benefit the Women's Resource Center and the Foundation for Dreams. There's a pub  run, a regular 5k, a walk and even Lepracaun Races for the kids. Races start at 3:30 p.m. Get more information at Fit2Run is Sarasota or online at www.fit2run.com/pdfs/Shamrock2013flierFINAL.pdf


On Holmes Beach, the "largest St. Paddy’s Day Parade South and East of Savannah" will once again flood the island streets with green. The annual event, which started with a single float and has grown into a major parade, is the brainchild of Beach Bistro restaurateur Sean Murphy.

The Beach Bistro’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Anna Maria Island is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., beginning at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach, and ending on North Palm Drive and 78th Street. Parade participants should assemble at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

The parade is free and open to the public, and Anna Maria Island residents (Irish or otherwise) are invited to participate. The slow-strolling parade attracts upwards of fifteen-thousand celebrants each year and features area marching bands, pipe bands, musicians and colorful floats as well as charming wee folk dressed as leprechauns. Parade Marshalls will be World War Two veterans Mr. Sam Castelli and Mr. Jim Gabaree.

As ever, this year’s favorite participant is Judy the Parade Elephant (pictured right), led by her companion of over 40 years, Mr. Bones. Her sometimes co-star is Omar the camel.


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