The 8th annual-and possibly final-Mayor’s River O'Green Fest kicks off St. Patty's day weekend
It must be St. Patrick's Day weekend. The river is green and the mayor is walking around in his Shamrock festooned green trousers. Thousands are gathered in Curtis Hixon Park and along the Riverwalk, everyone is dressed in green and acting Irish for the day. Kids are playing cool games, and the lines for beer are several yards long. Happy River O’Green Fest!
It's a fun celebration but somewhat bittersweet. Mayor Bob Buckhorn is saying goodbye to the city that he has promoted and changed for the last eight years. Term limits says he has to go but he clearly is not ready.
I asked Buckhorn if he's ready to step down. He told me in no uncertain terms that on his last day there will be claw marks on his desk because they had to drag him out of the building. He noted how much the city has changed under his administration and direction. For nearly a decade he has been Tampa's biggest cheerleader and will leave a legacy of success for our city.
In years past several boats zigzagged and circled while dropping dye into the river. They continue to weave back and forth until all of the green was dispersed and mixed in. This year the Tampa Fire Rescue boat Patriot used its water cannons to help stir things up. It is quite a scene right in front of the Riverwalk as they spin and and churn! Festival goers had a front row seat.
What’s a River O'Green Festival without games? There were several activities for kids both in Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Gardens. Adult activities? Beer!
It's hard to say if the River O'Green Festival will return. A new administration might have different ideas on celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Nonetheless it has been a fun run. From one old Tampeño to another, thank you for all you have done, Mr. Mayor. Luck O’ The Irish to you!