TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Rough Riders are moving next year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade from Ybor City to downtown in order to combine their celebration with the city dyeing the Hillsborough River green.
“The Rough Riders have expressed interest in making the parade a broader, family-friendly event coinciding with the River O Green for more than a year, and about a month ago, Mayor [Jane] Castor agreed to give it a go,” city spokesperson Adam Smith said in an email. “The precise route has not been finalized, but we’ll work with the Tampa Downtown Partnership and Tampa Police Department on logistical details. Combining two events should make for a more vibrant celebration and probably save some money on security and traffic control.”
The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the signature events hosted by the non-profit organization dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt and his calvary.
“As some of you may know, the dyeing of the river green was an event started by the Rough Riders 10 years ago,” Rough Riders President Joe Dato said.
Some people who work in Ybor said they do not like the parade moving from Tampa’s Latin quarter.
“It’s very surprising,” Landon Schiller said. “The parades are always very successful, brings a lot of business. They shut down the street and everyone has a great time. There’s really been no issues. It just seems Ybor always gets snubbed.”
Schiller is a manager and bartender at Gaspar’s Grotto on 7th Avenue.
“It’s cleaned up considerably and it still has the cultural aspect and the grittiness that makes it what it is,” he said. “But it’s absolutely safe and people have a great time here.”
The Rough Riders clubhouse is located in Ybor and they are still planning to hold their pub crawl on 7th Avenue the night before the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
“Our focus is in Ybor,” Dato said. “But we just have the opportunity to move this parade where the river is and that’s downtown.”
Next year’s River O’Green Fest and the Rough Rider’s St. Patrick’s Day parade are set for Saturday, March 16.