Don your green and head downtown. But before you do, make sure to read this Insider's Guide. We lay out everything you need to know for the Freedom First St. Patrick's Day Parade and Shamrock Festival. From event information to top tips, this Guide covers it all.
What: The Freedom First St. Patrick's Day Parade and Shamrock Festival is a large, outdoor celebration in the heart of Downtown Roanoke.
When: The Shamrock Festival is on Saturday, March 11, 2023 from 10am to 5pm. The St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 11am.
Where: Downtown Roanoke
St. Patrick's Day Parade
The St. Patrick's Day Parade will have several spectacular Celtic bands, stilt walkers, dancers, intricately decorated floats, and many more community organizations.
Parade Route: Begins on Jefferson Street at Elm Avenue, continues to Campbell Avenue and ends at Williamson Road.
The parade is rain or shine, so make sure to grab some green waterproof gear.
The festival kicks off with DJ Joey Nicely on the Delta Dental Stage at 10am in the Plaza behind the City Market Building. In addition to live performances from Juice, The Frequency, Empty Bottles, and The Dundies, the festival will include adult beverages, food, vendors, and more! Admission is free, so you won't want to miss this fun holiday celebration.
Top Tips to Make the Most of Attending
Parking and Street Closures - Plan Your Trip in Advance
We're here to remove the stress surrounding parking. First, you should plan to arrive a little early. We recommend getting downtown no later than 10:30am. Not only will roads be closed for the parade and festival, but there are several other downtown events on March 11th. Review the map below or read our street closures for the event so that you can decide on the best route and parking. Jefferson Street and Campbell Avenue will reopen when the parade ends.
We recommend PARK Roanoke because they offer parking in lots and garages at rates lower than privately owned lots and garages. There are several garages nearby. Keep in mind that access to the garages may be limited during the parade. You can find a full list of downtown parking options here.
Find a Good Location to Watch the Parade
There are some great spots for watching the parade. Let's start at the beginning. You can watch from the edge of Elmwood Park, which will put you right at the start of the parade at Jefferson Street and Elm Avenue. Just a bit further down is one of the best viewpoints. Right in front of the main library is a great location with tree coverage and a few benches. Finally, the Market Square along Campbell Avenue is top-notch in our opinion (we might be a little biased). Plus, it puts you really close to the Shamrock Festival. You'll be able to simply cross the street when the parade ends.
Get Your Green On
It goes without saying that for a St. Patrick's Day celebration, you'll need to wear some green to avoid getting pinched. Many of our downtown retailers sell St. Pat's specific gear and even more have green clothing items. If you're still not finding what you need, you can walk along Salem Avenue near the City Market Building at the Shamrock Festival. There you will find our sponsors, several of which will be passing out free (green) swag!
Bring Your Dog Along (Maybe)
We love seeing your furry friends out and about downtown. If you want to bring your bestie with you, make sure they're leashed and that you clean up after them. Don't forget to stop by Unleashed Dog Bakery & Boutique to grab all of the essentials, including waste bags.
We anticipate downtown to be bustling. If your pup doesn't do well in large crowd or noisy environments, it may be best to leave them at home.
Grab a Bite to Eat Downtown
After a full day of St. Patrick's Day festivities, you'll have worked up an appetite. While food will be available for purchase at the Shamrock Festival, you may be in the mood for a sit-down meal afterwards. Here is a full list of restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat.
Other St. Patrick's Day Events
Corned Beef & Co.'s Celtic Celebration
Our activities aren't the only ones happening on March 11th. Corned Beef & Co. is throwing a major Celtic Celebration from 10am to 5pm. This outdoor festival will feature beer, live Celtic Music, Irish food specials, and more. The entertainment schedule includes Irish Dance Academy of Southwest Virginia, Kinnfolk, and Albemarle Pipes and Drum.
Martin's Downtown St. Pat's Street Party
Martin's is starting the party early at 11am and will continue to celebrate St. Patrick's Day well into the night. This street party will have 2 stages, 10 bands, and Irish-themed food and drinks. For the low price of $15, you can see Hogslop String Band, Sexbruise?, Travers Brothership, Dale & the ZDubs, and many more! Click here to learn more about the event.
We can't wait for you to help us paint the town green!