2017 St. Patrick's Day Celebrations in San Antonio Hosted by Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas

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St. Patrick's Day Celebrations culminates in only St. Patrick's Day River Parade in the world.

St. Patrick's Day River Parade in San Antonio

In true Irish tradition, our values center on the history and traditions of family and friends; we love to sing, dance, laugh, tell stories and generally have a good time.

The Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas has been “Keeping Irish History and Culture Alive” in central Texas for more than 50 years through music, arts, dance, sports and food. The Irish role in history is remembered and honored through many events, from the only St. Patrick’s Day River Parade in the world to the wreath-laying at the Alamo honoring the 35 Irish descendants who fought there.

The annual Harp & Shamrock Society St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will kick-off on Saturday, March 11, 2017 with the 5K Run & Fitness Walk, and will continue through Saturday, March 18, 2017 with downtown festivities.

New this year: Landmarks and buildings throughout the city—including the Tower of Americas, The Quarry, Centro Chroma Tower located at the Centro Plaza Transit Center on the near west side and Kinetic Skyline located at the Bank of America Plaza Building have already committed that they will be lit up in green for “Go Green SA” in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The project is in keeping with the Global Greening initiative started by the country of Ireland seven years ago. HSS and CentroSA are urging local landmarks and buildings to join the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the World Trade Center in NYC and Fenway Park in Boston, in the “greening” fun. HSS is also reminding San Antonians to color their Facebook and Instagram pages green during March.

St. Patrick’s Day 2017 festivities—all sponsored or co-sponsored by the Harp & Shamrock Society and all open to the public—will include:

  • Saturday, March 11, 2017, 8:30 a.m. – 34th Annual Harp & Shamrock Society 5K Run & Fitness Walk – “Guinness at the Finish” – Lady Bird Johnson Park, 10700 Nacogdoches Rd. This is the longest running 5K run celebrating Irish heritage in San Antonio. Run will offer chip timing by IAAP with awards for fastest run times; top masters; greenest runners and/or pets; ugliest kilts; and Irish Road Bowling. Race begins to the sound of bagpipes and ends with Beethoven Dance Band, Irish pasta, Irish bangers (sausage), Guinness mementos and “Guinness at the Finish.” Freebies for early registrants include special Guinness pint glass and tee-shirt. For more information or register online. Underwritten by GLI (Guinness), Main Street Pizza and Run Wild Sports.
  • Friday and Saturday, March 17 & 18, 2017 – Go Green SA (see above).
  • Friday, March 17, 2017, noon -1 p.m. – Harp & Shamrock Wreath Laying Ceremony – Entrance to The Alamo. 50th presentation honoring Irish heroes present at the Battle of the Alamo, with special thanks to The Alamo/TX General Land Office. Of the 188 defenders at the Alamo, 12 were Irish-born; 30 were of Irish heritage. Four Irishmen signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, and 100 fought at the Battle of San Jacinto – comprising one-seventh of the total Texan force in that battle.
  • Friday, March 17, 2017, 1 p.m. – Dyeing of the San Antonio River in the downtown River Walk area – River dyed green and renamed “The River Shannon.”
  • Friday, March 17, 2017, 2 – 9 p.m. – Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival – La Villita. Co-sponsored by Harp & Shamrock Society and Paseo del Rio Association, the festival offers Irish and Texas beer and food, arts and crafts and games with no admittance fee. The Harp & Shamrock Society will sponsor its “Passport to Ireland” interactive exhibit which offers genealogy research, history of early Irish Texans, introduction to Gaelic language and bag pipe, Kiss the Blarney Stone and much more.
  • Harp & Shamrock Music Festival – Arneson River Theatre in La Villita, 2-9 p.m. Co-sponsored by Harp & Shamrock Society and Paseo del Rio Association, it offers free non-stop schedule of Irish bands, singers and dancers.
  • Saturday, March 18, 2017, noon – 9 p.m. – Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival – La Villita. Co-sponsored by Harp & Shamrock Society and Paseo del Rio Association, the festival offers Irish and Texan beer and food, arts and crafts and games with no admittance fee. The Harp & Shamrock Society’s will sponsor its “Passport to Ireland” interactive exhibit which offers genealogy research, history of early Irish Texans, introduction to Gaelic language and bag pipe, Kiss the Blarney Stone and much more.
  • Harp & Shamrock Music Festival – Arneson River Theatre in La Villita, noon – 9 p.m. Co-sponsored by Harp & Shamrock Society and Paseo del Rio Association, it offers free non-stop schedule of Irish bands, singers and dancers.
  • Saturday, March 18, 2017, 2 p.m. – Dyeing of the San Antonio River in the downtown River Walk area – River dyed green and renamed “The River Shannon.”
  • Saturday, March 18, 2017, 4 p.m. – Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day River Parade – San Antonio River Walk - the only one of its kind in the world. Co-sponsored by Harp & Shamrock Society and Paseo del Rio Association, 13 decorated river barges will be filled with Irish bagpipes and drummers, Irish step dancers, music, singers, a Color Guard, Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas members and sponsors to entertain tens of thousands of San Antonians and their visitors. The first St. Patrick’s River Parade was started in 1969 by the Harp & Shamrock Society and Paseo del Rio Association, and continues to this day with no interruptions.

The Harp & Shamrock Society is an active member of the Irish community-at-large, partnering with the San Antonio Gaelic Athletic Club, Innisfree School of Irish Dance and the Irish Consul in Austin to honor its heritage, and make new Irish customs for the future. HSS is also involved in many community outreach events including Days of Caring, Veteran’s Day Parade, the San Antonio Highland Games, Kerrville Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival. Scholarships are awarded to students to preserve Irish-Texan history for the next generation.

“In true Irish tradition, our values center on the history and traditions of family and friends; we love to sing, dance, laugh, tell stories and generally have a good time,” says Melissa McDonald Schulz, president, Harp & Shamrock Society. “You need not be Irish to join the Harp & Shamrock Society, but only need the spirit of the Irish in your heart to become a part of our family of businesses, companies and other organizations in and around San Antonio.” Members and the public are invited to social and educational events such as Irish stew/soda bread cook-offs, Irish movie nights, concerts, fun runs, happy hours, parades and golf tournaments—all which highlight Irish culture.

For information or to join Harp & Shamrock Society, visit http://www.harpandshamrock.org or the Society’s Facebook page, or call 210-896-1598.

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Jeanne Albrecht
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