The beers and Irish whiskey were flowing Saturday as many in Lakewood Ranch got into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit.
Hundreds of people — many decked out in green or wearing their best kilt — attended the sixth-annual Irish Celtic Festival on Saturday at Adventure Park in Lakewood Ranch’s Greenbrook Village for traditional Irish food, drinks, music and games.
The event even had a replica of a traditional cottage Irish pub — well, an inflatable version of one.
“This idea started in Ireland,” owner Kelly Christi said. “It’s an adult bounce house, without the bounce.”
Complete with windows, the Wandering Pub provided those seeking to get out of the heat a gathering place to enjoy their drinks or food. Tables were set up inside along with a small bar counter with bar stools.
Proud of her heritage, Christie has made several trips to Ireland, including to get married 17 years ago. Most recently she participated in the Dublin Marathin in 2011. So she is happy to help bring a little more of the culture to a festival in a neighborhood park.
“I’ve never seen something like this before,” some people said as they walked in, while othera said, “This is so cool, can I rent it?”
Christie said the Wandering Pub will be set up in the parking lot outside Pub 32, an Irish Pub located at 8383 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also available to be rented for other special events and parties.
“I really would like to see a St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown St. Petersburg or Sarasota, and really build upon that culture here,” Christie said. “The parade is so symbolic.”
Michael Ward, with the New World Celts of Sarasota, was dressed in his kilt and with a flask in his pouch.
“I think this is great,” Ward said, encouraging others to sample the Irish whiskey. “I don’t hear anybody complaining.”
Chad and Nikki Lowe were decked out in green and ready to run the beer relay. But it wasn’t your average relay, with participants hopping, skipping and running along with other shenanigans.
“Shenanigans, of course,” Nikki Lowe said.
Although Chad Lowe is originally from the Bahamas, he learned that he had some Irish descent. But the couple had never been to the annual festival, or other similar event.
“It’s a pretty good event, a lot of happy people,” he said, adding that he was excited and ready for some green beer and good time.
But you didn’t have to be of Irish to come out and celebrate.
Falyn Bayles was enjoying a Guinness draft as she watched the festival around her, before trying some of the mac and cheese.
“It’s a beautiful day, and I like to support local events,” Bayles said.