Back and better than ever, the Salty Shamrock’s annual St. Puppy’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day Festival have returned for more Irish fun. The first of the festivities kicks off at the Salty Shamrock at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 12 when St. Puppy’s Day gets underway. The St. Patrick’s Day Festival gets started later on in the week on Friday, March 17 at 11 a.m. before running through the weekend for the first time ever.
St. Puppy’s Day has been a tradition long before it came to the Salty Shamrock in 2016, as owners Sean and Anya Rice were putting on this event for years, even prior to owning the Salty Shamrock. A fun time for the whole family, there is an anticipated 200-300 dogs involved, as owners and contestants have come from as far as other states in the past to engage in the good times.
“Salty’s is extremely community-oriented, and most of our events serve the community, but it is so cool to see how it has grown outside the community and we are excited for people to enjoy the expanded experience,” general manager Terri Sherman said.
It has become somewhat of a tradition for some owners to take unique approaches to give their pups an edge by having them don costumes that they will often match themselves. Free registration begins on-site at 1 p.m. on the day of the event, and all contestants must be signed up by 2 p.m. in order to try their luck at winning the trophy in one of the four competitions: Best Male Dog, Best Female Dog, Best in Show and Best Owner/Dog Look-alike. The contestants begin by walking the parade that will take a route throughout the location and vendors before ending in front of the judges.
There will be a variety of dog-oriented vendors on-site that will offer things such as bandanas, collars and leashes, and there will also be adoption agencies and pet rescue organizations such as CARE Ruskin to allow for adoptions. Furthermore, you can expect great music throughout the day and a promotional event where there will be free samples of Guinness and Jameson Orange.
The fun does not stop there, because just five days later the biggest St. Patrick’s Day Festival that the Salty Shamrock has ever seen arrives, gets going and does not stop until the following Sunday, March 19 at 6 p.m. For $10, you receive a wristband that grants you full access to the three-day event, where there will be the typical green beer and Irish foods that only come out of the Salty Shamrock kitchen for one weekend a year, as well as live music throughout each day.
The authentic Irish experience does not end there either, as performances from Blue Skye Drums and Bagpipes and the Irish Ramblers, on tour from Ireland, complete the experience. Enjoy the music through all three days as you check out the local vendors in attendance while perusing the beer garden and reveling in Irish festivities.
If you would like more information on these events or the Salty Shamrock in general, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/saltyshamrockFL.