A dog rides in a St. Patrick's Day themed cart at the 2014 Fest of Tails kite festival and dog fair at McAllister Park.
A dog rides in a St. Patrick's Day themed cart at the 2014 Fest of Tails kite festival and dog fair at McAllister Park. Credit: Miriam Sitz for the San Antonio Report

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, which means San Antonians will sport green clothing, Guinness and whiskey will flow, and a certain river will go green. The highlight for some will be the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade that includes live music and Irish dancing. For those who would rather wear other colors, there are plenty of alternative activities, including a kite exhibition and culinary treats on offer.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival & Parade

Downtown goes all out for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade. For the 51st time, the San Antonio River will be dyed green in honor of the holiday. The dye boat – complete with bagpipers on board – will start its journey at 1 p.m. on Saturday and again on Sunday in front of Mad Dogs British Pub to turn the river from its usual hue into a vibrant emerald. You can watch from the River Walk or snag a spot on one of the four party boats that Mad Dogs is sending out onto the water. Addressing environmental concerns, Paula Schechter, spokeswoman for the San Antonio River Walk Association, emphasized that the dye “is green and green” and will not harm aquatic life in the river.

A map of the route for the St. Patrick’s Day River parade. Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio River Walk Asssociation

The St. Patrick’s Day River Parade will take place on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The map above shows the estimated times the parade featuring 12 floats will pass by designated points along the route. For a more intimate and relaxed setting, head on over to the Irish Garden in La Villita, which offers weekend-long karaoke and Irish storytelling for the enjoyment of kids and adults alike.

Meanwhile, some River Walk restaurants will be serving traditional Irish foods and themed cocktails, Schechter said.

“Take time to stroll around, soak everything in and really get your St. Patty’s Day on!” she said.
Saturday and Sunday, noon-8 p.m. 
River Walk

Shamrock the Tower

More St. Patty’s Day fun awaits at the base of the Tower of the Americas. After enjoying some live music and a couple of rounds in the bouncy castle, the whole family can sit back and watch as the Tower is lit a festive green on Sunday.
2 p.m.-7 p.m.
739 E. César E. Chávez Blvd.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade After-Party

Anyone who wants to continue the festivities after Sunday’s parade should put on their dancing shoes for the St. Patrick’s Day River Parade Official After Party at the Aztec Theatre. Musical entertainment will be provided by tribute bands WOW U2 and Think Lizzy. While general-admission tickets are sold out, premium seats can be purchased online. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the live shows starting an hour later. One dollar from each ticket sale will go to the San Antonio River Walk Association, which works to preserve and promote the downtown destination.
6 p.m.
104 N. St. Mary’s St.

Fest of Tails

On Saturday at McAllister Park, entertainment will fly high in the sky and scamper on four legs at the 13th annual Fest of Tails. Kite lovers and canine enthusiasts can mingle amid kids rides, live entertainment, and food options. There are kite-making workshops for the creatively inclined, while those interested in stocking up their trophy cases can sign up with their four-footed friends for the Pooch Parade and Costume Contest. Check-in and registration for the canine parade and competition begins at 9:30 a.m., with prizes awarded around 11:30 a.m. for best-dressed dog, the dog that most resembles its owner, and best in show. Pack a blanket or lawn chair to best enjoy the array of kites and furry fashionistas.
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
McAllister Park, 13102 Jones Maltsberger Rd.

Chef 2 Chef Culinary Demo

For a live take on a cooking show favorite, stop by the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s outdoor teaching kitchen this Sunday for its Chef 2 Chef event. The culinary demonstration pairs local chefs with four San Antonio-area contestants on MasterChef Junior to create delicious, healthy meals using the fresh produce grown on site. Be sure to buy a ticket in advance in order to get a taste.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
555 Funston Pl.

Farmers & Artisans Market

Those needing inspiration to get in the kitchen themselves might want to stroll around the Mission Marquee Plaza on Saturday for the spring return of the farmers market. The Mobile Mercado “Farmacy on Wheels,” will be on site, selling food and prepared meals and teaching visitors how to use their freshly purchased produce in healthy and nutritious meals. Proceeds from food sales will go to support the San Antonio Food Bank. In the spirit of health, the YMCA will also provide free fitness classes for all levels, including beginners, inside the Harvey E. Najim YMCA starting at 10 a.m. The farmers market is open to the public every third Saturday of the month until Nov. 16.
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
3100 Roosevelt Ave.

Valérie Eiseler is an intern at The Rivard Report. She's looking to get to know San Antonio before heading back to her hometown of Darmstadt, Germany.