For 24 years, Emerald Isle has been the place to be when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Carteret County. The annual St. Patrick’s Festival draws more than 25,000 folks to the Emerald Plantation Shopping Center for a day of green splattered family fun. Planned this year for 9am-6pm on Saturday, March 14, festival organizers are expecting more than 75 arts and craft and food vendors and a plethora of activities.
Those who venture out for the region’s first outdoor festival of the year will certainly find plenty to see and do. Sponsored in part of Transportation Impact and the Emerald Isle Business Association and organized by Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation, the festival features amusement rides, live entertainment, a beer garden, petting zoo and static displays, including the #43 Ford Fusion courtesy of Richard Petty Motorsports.
From handmade jewelry and original artwork to face painting and hair bows, vendors lined up for the event has been hand picked to ensure a wide variety of options. In keeping with its early philosophy, no commercial vendors are allowed. Instead, all items must be handmade. The same rings true for the bountiful food options offered throughout the day, including, of course, plenty of corned beef and cabbage.
While rides, food and fun take a center stage, a full schedule of live entertainment will provide the soundtrack as the day progresses. The popular Little Mr. and Miss Leprechaun Contest gets the day started at 9am. Both boys and girls age 2-3 and 4-5 will be judged on the originality and creativity of their costume and overall stage presentation. Preregistration is required by noon on Thursday, March 12 by filling out a form at Emerald Isle Parks and Rec or visiting www.emeraldislestpatricksfestival.com. Because the festival will be busy, no registration can be handled that morning.
While the youngsters warm up the crowd, a collection of live musicians are lined up throughout the day. Guests can expect to see 4EverAll, My Three Kilts, Bryan Mayer, Heritage, Spare Change, Justin Castellano and more. Be sure to be on the lookout for the Port City Pipes & Drums parading around the festival throughout the day.
The beer garden, hosted by the Emerald Isle Business Association and Coastal Beverage, will be open from 9am-6pm. In addition, those looking for something to sate their appetite will find an array of festival fare, including traditional corned beef and cabbage.
Entrance to the festival and parking, as always, is free. To learn more about the St. Patrick’s celebration, call 252-354-6350 or visit www.emeraldislestpatricksfestival.com.