Henderson’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities kick off Thursday

The 46th annual Southern Nevada Sons of Erin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival is gearing up for another year of green-clad events.

“Everyone is Irish for the day,” said Dona Brown, the entertainment coordinator and a member of the Sons of Erin. “Everyone loves St. Patrick’s Day.”

The Irish-themed event has been in Henderson for nearly a decade and offers entertainment and family-friendly activities on Water Street.

The celebration honors St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to the pagans and druids in Ireland.

This year’s celebration begins with a carnival from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St. Festivities continue from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday with entertainment and the carnival.

Las Vegas-based Irish band Finnegan’s Wake is slated to return to the stage for the second year. The band is scheduled to perform at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday.

“I like the venue, and the Sons of Erin group is great to work with,” said Wayne Ritchie, the band’s drummer. “The whole thing is a good time.”

Finnegan’s Wake was started by Robbie Murphy, a Dublin native who sings and plays guitar .

Even though the band has changed members over the years, it has kept original members Murphy and Ritchie. The group has been around for 11 years, playing anywhere from Irish bars to private parties.

On St. Patrick’s D ay, the band is scheduled to play at three venues around Las Vegas .

The group retains the spirit, and luck, of the Irish all year at whatever event it plays.

“Every day is St. Patrick’s Day for us,” Ritchie said.

Along with entertainment, the festival is scheduled to feature a variety of food and merchandise vendors. Irish cultural activities, such as an Irish jig demonstration and whiskey tasting contest, also are planned.

“If people come to where I am, they will learn how to do the jig,” Brown said. “It is fun to watch people try.”

Entrance to the festivities is free.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is slated to kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday down Water Street. About 100 entries are expected to line the streets with festive floats decorated with the theme “W earin’ O’ the Green,” as well as bagpipers and Celtic dancers.

Mayor Andy Hafen is expected to be this year’s honorary grand marshal.

Parade entries have a chance to win trophies for best of theme and for the prettiest, greenest and most original floats.

For the third year, a classic car show has been scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

This is the second year the proceeds from the festival are slated to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that focuses on childhood cancer research.

“Last year it went great,” Brown said. “We raised a lot of money, and we want to do it again this year.”

Members of the community are invited to raise money for the charity. In exchange they can have their heads shaved at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Brown said the Sons of Erin is trying to raise $2,000 to get one of the club’s members to shave his head, including his ponytail.

St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t end Saturday night. For those in need of something hearty the next day, there is the Irish Stew Cook Off. Judging for the event is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday

“We want people to make their favorite hangover stew,” Brown said. “It doesn’t even have to be Irish. It can be Mexican or whatever stew cures a hangover.”

Brown said proceeds from that event are expected to benefit charities sponsored by St. Jude’s Women’s Auxiliary, including Positively Kids and Catholic Charities Childhood Cancer.

For more information, visit hendersonlive.com or snsoe.com. 

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.

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