Five Points is ready to welcome more than 40,000 people for the annual St. Pat’s in Five Points festival. With events including a selfie contest and a free kids’ play area, “there’s something everyone can enjoy,” said Amy Beth Franks, executive director of the Five Points Association and one of the masterminds behind St. Pat’s.
“There’s not a demographic we don’t hit on at some point,” Franks said.
What’s going on
The festival includes live music, a parade, a race – not to mention Five Points’ nearly 20 bars, where beer and other libations will be freely flowing all day.
But you don’t need to start the day off with a drink to have fun at St. Pat’s. The day kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Get to the Green 5K, 10K and Family Fun 1-Miler. The race is the Midlands’ biggest, according to Franks. Many participants get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit, dressing up in outrageous costumes, often featuring a holiday-appropriate amount of green.
“Some people dress up in the craziest costumes. We had the Fruit of the Loom fruits last year,” Franks said. “Watching them is so fun.”
Cash prizes and awards will be given to the race’s top finishers and best-dressed entrants. Registration is $37.50 for the Family Fun 1-Miler and 5K and $42.50 for the 10K; registration includes the cost of admission to the festival, a T-shirt and medal. Participants can register at gettothegreen.racesonline.com.
After the race, spectators can enjoy the annual St. Pat’s Parade free of charge. In honor of Five Points’ centennial, the district itself will be the parade’s grand marshal, represented by members of the Five Points community. The Wells Fargo Pot O’ Gold Playland also opens at 10 a.m. and is free of charge. The two early events are an opportunity for families to have fun without cost.
“Parents can bring their kids to the free parade and free play area before paying to go through the gates,” Franks said. “Take advantage of the free stuff first.”
When the parade wraps up, the music begins. This year, St. Pat’s in Five Points will feature 19 live music acts, three electronic dance music DJs and a set of shag music DJs. The live music lineup features country artists Love and Theft and Holly Williams, indie groups J. Roddy Walston & The Business and Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, and bluesy rock group the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.
Those who love to shag or want to learn can stop by the Shaggin’ on Santee Stage for free lessons and beach music from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. From 3 to 6 p.m., the Santee Stage will be taken over by EDM as the Dub DJs play the festival for the second year in a row.
For the first time, festivalgoers can have their own VIP St. Pat’s experience. For $89, guests can enjoy an open bar and food from Five Points restaurant Saluda’s, a balcony view from the restaurant, festival admission and clean bathrooms.
If you don’t want to spring for the VIP package, plenty of food and drink vendors will be available. Festival organizers have decided to involve more local vendors. Wurst Wagen, Pawleys Front Porch and Ben’s Barbecue are among the many local food trucks that will serve festivalgoers. There will also be a central area for food, complete with a covered dining area with clean tables.
The festival will also introduce “the Cube,” a hub of information complete with cellphone charging stations provided by T-Mobile. The day’s music lineup will be featured on two sides of the Cube, and it will serve as an easy landmark among the sea of people that floods Five Points for the event.
Five Points is also sponsoring a selfie contest, complete with a prize of $100 in credit to a Five Points business of the winner’s choosing. The Five Points team is looking for “the most epic selfie – safe of course” tagged with #stpatsselfie2015 on Twitter or Instagram, Franks said.
“Each year, people are taking awesome pictures, and we want to see them,” Franks said.
If you go
What: St. Pat’s in Five Points
Where: Five Points, with entry points on Harden, Greene, Blossom, Devine and Santee streets
When: Saturday, March 14. The first event begins at 8 a.m., festival gates open at 9 a.m., and the festival officially ends at 7 p.m.
Cost: $15 for general admission if purchased in advance at stpatscolumbia.com or at Ace Lock and Key, Green’s Beverages, Hair Designs on Santee, Steel Garden, Village Idiot or Yesterday’s. $20 for general admission if purchased day of. $89 for VIP tickets, available at stpatscolumbia.com.
Amanda C. Coyne