The former is a whiskey-tasting party for adults at the Irish Times Pub. The latter involves games, food and live entertainment for kids, families and people of all ages.
This article is primarily about the family-friendly festival which takes place on Government Street. To learn more about the whiskey-tasting event on the same day, see our article about Irish Whiskey Hooley or visit the Greater Victoria Festival Society‘s website.
Thrifty Foods St. Patrick’s Day Festival
Sponsored by the Victoria-based Thrifty Foods grocery store chain, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival is an annual event that takes place on Government Street. It usually happens on the Sunday just before St. Patrick’s Day (which is always on March 17th). In 2022 St. Patrick’s Day is on a Thursday and the St. Patrick’s Day Festival occurred on Sunday, March 13th.
The St. Patrick’s Day Festival takes place along the two or so blocks of Government Street between Yates Street and Fort Street in downtown Victoria. The activities run from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.
The family-friendly festivities happen near the Irish Times Pub which is at the entrance to Bastion Square. The pub is also where the adults-only Irish Whiskey Hooley event takes place on the same day at roughly the same time.
The St. Patrick’s Day Festival features family-friendly games and live entertainment. There are food vendors on site serving up tasty treats and market vendors selling a variety of products. For young children there are also usually a couple of bouncy castle-style inflatable sliding structures. It’s a fun event!
2022 Entertainment Lineup
The following musicians and groups performed at the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in 2022. (Note: Exact details were subject to change.)
- Daniel Lapp – the founder of the Victoria Fiddle Society and a recipient of the “Innovator” award from the Canadian Folk Music Association.
- BC Fiddle Orchestra – a collection of youth ensembles, there are dozens of teenagers who take part in this local orchestra program each year.
- O’Brien School of Irish Dance – all the instructors at this school are former high-level Irish dancers. The group performs a selection of traditional Irish jigs.
- Ivonne Hernandez – a multi-faceted performer, she is a Juno Award and Canadian Folk Music Award winner for her singing and fiddling. She is also a dancer.
- Coastline Fiddle – an ensemble comprised of top youth musical performers from across the province, everyone in this group is between the ages of 14 and 23 quite talented.
In addition to the above, there are also bouncy castle-type play structures, craft activities and market vendors at the event.
There are plenty of other St. Patrick’s Day events at pubs, bars and clubs around Victoria most years.
One of the biggest is the St. Patrick’s Day Reopening Party at the Upstairs Cabaret in Bastion Square. The Cabaret has been closed for two years since the pandemic began and kicks off its reopening with a big party on March 17th in 2022. Tickets started at around $15.
Another notable party this year is the Saint Patrick’s Turn Up at the Ambrosia Event Centre on March 19th. This is a big event with DJs, laser lights and plenty of loud music. Tickets are $20.
In addition to the above, there will also no doubt be lots of merriment and live music on March 17th and the weekend of March 18th to 20th at the Irish Times Pub.
St. Patrick’s Day Festival Video
The following video shows what the St. Patrick’s Day Festival looked like in 2022. As you’ll see, Government Street is full of people, vendor stalls, live entertainment and bouncy castles.
Appearing in this video are dancers from the O’Brien School of Irish Dance and musicians from the BC Fiddle Orchestra.
FRANCO FEST 2022
Another great event happening in Victoria in March is Franco Fest. The French-themed event takes place on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of March 17th to 19th in 2022. The same as the St. Patrick’s Day Festival on the weekend before, Franco Fest is free to attend and it too happens near Bastion Square.
To learn more about St. Patrick’s Day Fest see the Greater Victoria Festival Society‘s website.
Title sponsors of the festival are Thrifty Foods and Peninsula Co-op.
To learn about Victoria’s annual whiskey-tasting event in March, see our article about Irish Whiskey Hooley.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Victoria’s Calendar of Events
- Top Attractions in Victoria
- Victoria Hotels
- St. Patrick’s Day in Vancouver (on the website Vancouversbestplaces.com)