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St. Patrick's parade, festival will honor founders

The annual St. Patrick’s Day festival and parade will honor its creators this year. It’s a fitting theme following the death last week of one of the founders, Mike Haggerty, who was to have been the event's grand marshal.

Haggerty’s wife and family will walk in the parade in his honor.

“We’ll have 10 to 15 of [the remaining founders] in the beginning of the parade,” said Steve Dunn, president of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival.

Dunn said a lot of time and energy goes into preparing for the festival, including fundraising efforts that began last June.

“It’s important to us to keep it free for the community,” said Dunn.

That means organizers have to spend more time fund raising prior to the event. The city does not financially support the festival and parade, he said.

Dress for warm weather, it’s supposed to be in the low 80s and mostly cloudy according to AccuWeather.com. It’ll be your last day to enjoy warm weather for a few days before temperatures dip to the low 60s on Sunday.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. and follow a new route this year, starting at the intersection of Stone Avenue and Pennington Street.

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But don’t wait until 11, get out at 10 a.m. and celebrate the opening of the festival at El Presidio Park Plaza, 160 W. Alameda St. Throughout the day, there will be live music, dancers, food, and more.

Dancers from the Macquire Academy of Irish Dance are scheduled to perform at 1 p.m. Darren Macquire, a former dancer with Riverdance, will direct the group.

The festival is scheduled to go until 5 p.m.

Stick around until 4 p.m. and you’ll be able to hear Dusty Buskers, a five-time Tucson Area Music Awards-winning band who define their music as “old-timey/Celtic revival and nontraditional traditional.”

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will benefit the Tucson Police Officers Association. Bring canned food donations for the Community Foodbank of Southern Arizona.

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Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com

While great Highland bagpipes may be Scottish rather than Irish, you're sure to see a pipe band or two at Saturday's St. Patrick's Day parade.

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