Tampa-River-O'Green-Fest Things to do this weekend

River O’Green Fest returns this year to downtown Tampa!

The River O’ Green Fest returns to downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on Saturday, March 16, 2024, with a new addition this year…the Rough Riders St. Patrick’s Day Parade! But, that’s not all. Once again, the river will turn into a bright shade of green in celebration of the holiday.

Don’t fret…this is done using environmentally safe dyes, non-toxic, and biodegradable dyes that meet the National Sanitation Foundation Standard 60 certification for use in and around drinking water.

Related: The Best St. Patrick’s Day Events in Tampa Bay for Families 

What activities are on the schedule this year?

The event will kick off at 11 am as Tampa Mayor, Jane Castor sounds the horn to start the dying process while spectators watch as the Hillsborough River turns bright green! The festivities continue until 6pm with food, beverages, beer, music, and family-friendly activities.

Festival goers can catch “hurling” demonstrations from Tampa Bay GAA Irish Hurling Club (a rowdy mix of hockey baseball, and football). Freedom Boat Club will also be back offering free rides along the Hillsborough River and there will be a pet costume contest.

River O'Green Fest
Image Credit: Downtown Tampa Partnership

NEW for 2024 – the St. Patrick’s Day Parade moves to Downtown Tampa!

The annual Rough Riders St. Patrick’s Day Parade will move from Ybor to Downtown Tampa to coincide with the River O’Green Fest.

The parade will take place at 5 pm in downtown Tampa starting at Joe Chillura Square and will head down Madison Street to Ashey Drive and up East Polk Street. You can view the full parade route and list of participants here.

New Entertainment

There will also be more live entertainment than ever with the addition of a second stage for more performances. Also this year, the area near Four Green Fields Pub will become an art walk and will showcase local Tampa artists with Irish connections.

You can also check out a cabbage toss game, a Lucky Charms eating contest, and the chance to win Busch Gardens tickets!

The 2024 Performance Schedule:

  • 11:15 am – 12:45 pm: Paddy O’Furniture Performance (Main Stage)
  • 11:30 am: TBD (Terrace Stage)
  • 1 pm: Finnegan Irish Dance Academy Performance (Terrace Stage)
  • 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm: TBD (Main Stage)
  • 2:30 pm: TBD (Terrace Stage)
  • 3 pm: Finnegan Irish Dance Academy Performance (Terrace Stage)
  • 3:30 pm: Pet Costume Contest Sponsored by Barrymore Hotel (Terrace Stage)
  • 4 pm – 5 pm: Phoenix Five Performance (Main Stage)

Is it free to attend River O’ Green Fest?

The River O’ Green Fest is FREE to attend and absolutely a family and pet-friendly event. You can expect to see the return of live music, Irish-inspired food from local restaurants, and activities designed with kids in mind.

River O'Green Fest
Image Credit: Downtown Tampa Partnership

Where are the best places to park for River O’ Green Fest in Tampa?

We recommend parking at Poe Garage near Glazer Children’s Museum, as well as the downtown lots such as the Regional Royal Lot. There are also plenty of street parking options available which will have pay-by-credit-card or pay-by-app pay stations. Click here for a complete map of Downtown Tampa’s parking garages and lots.

You can also view the Downtown Tampa interactive map here.

What’s the best way to view the green river?

Along the Riverwalk and even ON the water. You can book a trip with Pirate Water Taxi which has stops along several riverfront spots, including Curtis Hixon Park. Crews will dye the river green between the Cass Street Bridge and Kennedy Bridge for those who want to watch the water turn green right before their eyes.

Where can I learn more?

Visit RiverOGreen.com for more information.

What else is there to do around Downtown Tampa?

If you’re planning to stick around Downtown Tampa after the River O Green Fest, there are plenty of family-friendly things to do! Some of our favorite things to do are:

Looking for more family fun? Check out 20+ FUN Things to Do in Tampa Bay this Weekend and the 40+ BEST Free Things to Do with the Kids in Tampa Bay.