St. Pete celebrates ‘Luck of the Irish’ with Harvey’s 5K and St. Patrick’s Day parties

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Irish eyes are smiling on downtown St. Petersburg this weekend with the Festival of States Harvey’s 5K Run; a special edition of the Saturday Morning Market in a new, temporary location; and lively St. Patrick’s Day celebrations featuring music, leprechauns and the wearin’ o’ the green. Motorists should expect some delays and detours downtown Saturday due to the scheduled events.

The annual Festival of States Harvey’s 5K Run kicks off Saturday morning’s activities with a one mile walk at 7:45 a.m. and 5K at 8 a.m. A 25 year tradition in St. Petersburg, the run features a new route that will start and finish on Bayshore Dr. at North Straub Park.  Participants will proceed through Bayshore Dr., Fifth Ave. N.E., through Vinoy Park, along North Shore Dr. N.E. to The Pier where they’ll reverse the route back to North Straub Park. Organizers expect the event to end by 10 a.m.  The event benefits arts and music programs in Pinellas County.

The Saturday Morning Market makes a temporary return to its former Central Ave. location this weekend due to track construction for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Motorists will find Central Ave. closed to through traffic between First and Third Sts., as well as Second St. between First Ave. N. and First Ave. S., from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to accommodate the market. Uniformed officers will be on hand to maintain traffic flow.

The Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and feature the regular assortment of locally-grown produce, baked goods, flowers and plants, along with a unique assortment of arts and crafts. Musical guests The Hot Rod Hornets perform their brand of 1950’s rockabilly for shoppers’ enjoyment, while a St. Patrick’s Day children’s parade steps off from The Lucky Dill, 277 Central Ave., at 10:30 a.m. While the Market will not be held on March 24 to accommodate the Grand Prix, vendors will return to the Al Lang Stadium parking lot on March 31 at 9 a.m.

Downtown Saturday traffic will also be impacted by revelers celebrating the luck o’ the Irish. A block party at Durty Nelly’s, 149 First Ave. N., gets underway at 11 a.m. with live music from more than 20 DJ’s and bands, including Less Than Jake. The entire 100 block of First Ave. N. between First and Second Sts. N., along with the adjacent parking lot will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday. The party is free and open to all ages, but 21 and older are preferred.

Beach Dr. S.E. will be closed to traffic from First Ave. S.E. to Central Ave. from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday for a celebration at Courigan’s Irish Pub. About 1 thousand people are expected to participate in the pub’s seventh annual St. Patrick’s Day event, which begins at 11 a.m.

And Crowley’s Downtown Pub, 269 Central Ave., will host its first annual fundraising concert for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the parking lot across the street starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. The event features live entertainment from Save the Radio, The Bawdy Boys, Kaleigh Baker and Celtic band Seven Nations and runs until 11 p.m. Because the event will be held off-site, little to no impact to traffic is expected.

Off-duty police will provide traffic control at the various street closure locations during the hours events are open to the public.

Overnight residential parkers should make sure their vehicles are removed by 5 a.m. Saturday when crews will begin clearing streets of vehicles for participants’ safety, including issuing citations or towing vehicles. Residential Parking permits will not exempt vehicles from being ticketed or towed. No Parking signs will be posted and meters bagged in affected areas by 9 p.m. Friday to advise of the upcoming events.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.