Keep the little leprechauns in your life busy this St. Patty’s Day with myriad events designed specifically for kids and families. From live entertainment to great food and activities, Tampa is the place to be Irish for a day. Check out these Bay area venues for authentic Irish festivities everyone can enjoy.

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

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Bay Area Renaissance Festival – Shamrocks & Shenanigans Weekend
11315 N. 46th St.
Tampa, FL 33617
(813) 983-0111

Price: at the gate – $18.95 adult/$10.95 child age five to 12/$14.95 seniors 62 and older; in advance – $15.95 adult/$7.95 child age five to 12/$14.95 seniors 62 and older
Date: March 16 – 18, 2012
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This continuous festival’s Irish take on the merriment will include a replica of a 16th-century Celtic village, and the always-entertaining Highland Games. Other highlights include Irish dancers, Celtic vendors, a St. Patty’s day-themed party with authentic foods and Tampa Bay Pipes and Drums performances. Street theater, human chess matches, fire eaters, armored jousting and the festival’s usual characters and stage acts round out this fun-for-all festival.

Flanagan’s Irish Pub St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival
Corner of Douglas & Highland avenues
Downtown Dunedin 34698
(727) 736-4994

Price: Free admission.
Date: March 17, 2012
Time: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Dunedin’s downtown revels in its Celtic heritage with plenty of entertainment, food and drink. Live music on two stages will include performances by the Fightin’ Malones, Irish Buskers, Noel Cooney and Jeff Glover. Irish dancers add to the fun and The City of Dunedin Pipe Band will play throughout the day. Expect Irish banger sandwiches, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie. Bring your kids along along early in the day for a stroll down the festive street. Kids are encouraged to join in on this fun-for-all event.

Peggy O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Eatery (Credit= Kim Tobin)

Peggy O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Eatery
1026 Florida Ave.
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
(727) 787-7734

Price: Free admission.
Date: March 17, 2012
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Peggy O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Eatery will welcome young and old into its spacious backyard for an afternoon and evening of celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day. This Palm Harbor favorite’s holiday bash will feature the City of Dunedin Pipe Band’s bagpipers, Irish stepdancers and a mix of live Irish folk music and rock ‘n roll. Educate the kids on all things Irish with this array of entertainment. To stoke the energy reserves, Peggy’s planned a menu of corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips and Irish stew. O’Neill’s will feature Irish music from noon to around 5 p.m., with an eclectic Stick Man Show at 8 p.m.

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Third Annual Dye the Channel Green
Channelside District Waterfront
Channelside Dr., Tampa 33602
(813) 466-5338

Price: Free
Date: March 17, 2012
Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Garrison Channel will be awash in shades of emerald as the Navy Rough Riders color it with an environmentally friendly green dye. Viewers wearing the finest Irish garb’ll snag a few strands of beads from the Rough Riders. Expect an exciting music mix from Channelside’s adjacent courtyard.

Shamrock’n Run 5K and Kids Fun Run
301 W. Bay Dr. (Ulmer Park)
Largo, Florida 33779
(727) 587-6740 or email

Price: 5K – $20, .5-mile walk – $15 Clover Kids Fun Run $7 (ages 7 and younger)
Date: March 16, 2012
Time: 5K – 7 p.m.; 1.5-mile walk – 7:15 p.m.; Clover Kids Fun Run – 8:15 p.m.

Break a sweat with the family before the celebrations at the city of Largo’s Shamrock’n Run. The event features a 5K run, 1.5-mile walk and the Clover Kids Fun Run for the 7-and-under set. The lucky first 400 registered participants get free T-shirts. Entry fee includes a post-race
meal, refreshments, drinks and live entertainment. All kids in the Fun Run get a T-shirt, ribbon and kids meal. Park at 301 4thSt. SW at the Pinellas County School Board lot.

Related: Best St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Tampa

Kim Tobin enjoys breathing deeply whenever she can carve out a few seconds between writing and parenting twin 6-year-olds, a 9-year-old and a rescued German Shepherd mix who thinks he’s a dingo. Always on the lookout for the next best way to exhaust them all (while disguising it as fun), she has also served as the Tampa Fitness Examiner since 2009. See her work here.

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