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River O' Green Fest gets underway in downtown Tampa

The annual celebration was bumped up one day due to the inclement weather forecast for Saturday.

TAMPA, Fla. — The possibility of inclement weather wasn't stopping the River O' Green Fest this weekend in downtown Tampa.

The event was originally scheduled for Saturday, March 18, but instead, city of Tampa officials said the festival will proceed on Friday, St. Patrick's Day. 

The annual celebration was bumped up one day ahead due to the inclement weather forecast for Saturday, the Tampa Downtown Partnership and city of Tampa announced in a news release Tuesday.

“The safety of all our guests and vendors is of the utmost importance,” Tampa Downtown Partnership President and CEO Lynda Remund said in a statement. “With storms in the forecast on Saturday, we decided it was in everyone’s best interest to reschedule. 

"The blessing in disguise is now we get to host the River O’ Green Fest on St. Paddy’s Day! We haven’t had the event on the actual holiday since 2018. It’ll be a great way for families to kick off the weekend and wrap up spring break.”

Festivities will run from 4 p.m through 10 p.m. Friday, March 17, at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park with live music, kids' activities, pet costume contest, food trucks and – you guessed it – beer. There will also be free rides along the Hillsborough River offered by the Freedom Boat Club.

The event is free to the public. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor sounded the horn at 4 p.m. to start the dyeing process to turn the Hillsborough River into a bright shade of green for the holiday.

The dye is non-toxic, biodegradable and certified to meet National Sanitation Foundation Standard 60 for use in and around drinking water. The dye has also been examined and approved by the Hillsborough County Environment Protection Commission.

The family-friendly event was first celebrated in Tampa in 2012.

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