If you know anything about Columbia SC, you know St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a big deal. Locals and tourists alike have heard of, or been to, one of the largest festivals in the Southeast—St. Pat’s in Five Points. Celebrations ensue well before the big day with mini-festivals like St. Practice Day at Tin Roof, and The Official Kickoff at the Five Points Fountain. In its 36th year, St. Pat’s in Five Points has grown up a bit since its start. Becoming more than a festival for college kids, it has dedicated its recent years to bringing in family-centric activities + seriously up-and-coming bands that cover a range of music styles. Read along for all the unexpected details, pro tips & lineup highlights.
FOR ALL AGES
Let’s start with The Official Kickoff. One week before St. Patricks’ Day, get in the Irish spirit with this event made for families. Think Irish-themed entertainment like bagpipers, dancers, and a scavenger hunt. Little ones are even invited to help dye the Five Points Fountain green, symbolizing the official start of festivities. When it comes time for the morning of the main event, runners line up for the Get To The Green Race in the wee hours of the morning. If that’s a little too early for you, don’t skip the St. Pat’s Parade for a showcase of dancing and cheering down the Musical Mile. While the main festival has an entry fee, the family-fun area is free admission for your tribe and includes rides, games, a petting zoo, tasty treats, and more. Activities require tickets, which can be purchased on site.
WHAT TO WEAR
Starting as early as the race, you will see all kinds of attire. Grab all the green garb you own or be a professional and head to Hip Wa Zee to spruce up your outfit with some accessories. Bonus points for those of you thinking of showing up in a leprechaun costume—we know you’re out there. If you consider yourself more of a fashionista, the trending boutiques in Five Points and on Devine Street are sure to be have all their green on display. Check out Wildflower, Bohemian, or My Kim Collection, just to name a few.
Ranging from soul music to country to indie and beyond, this year’s lineup is meant for all ears. Major headliners include Judah & The Lion, Chris Lane, SUSTO, Johnny P., Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and J. Roddy Walston and the Business. Some favorites the locals might notice from other popular festivals + around SC include 76 & Sunny, Boo Hag, and The Travelin’ Kine. Combine this with all of the food & drink vendors + the arts & crafts + the socializing and it may seem a little overwhelming. We recommend coming up with a plan for which stages you want to hit at what times. Check out the full lineup and schedule here so you look like a pro on the big day.
Real pros will purchase their tickets online beforehand so they can glide through the fast lane and get straight to the music. Take it one step further with Saluda’s VIP Experience, which includes an open bar & food, clean restrooms, shorter lines, and a premier people-watching spot on Saluda’s balcony. Once you’re in, you’re in—meaning no re-entry. When you get there, check out The Cube, an information hub that has programs, swag, ATMs, T-Mobile Charging Stations, and basic first-aid needs. The ultimate pro tip? No matter how you decide to enjoy the festival, don’t drink and drive. Avoid the parking drama and opt for an Uber, Lyft, or taxi for a decision you won’t regret.
Now go grab your ticket, your greens, and your shamrocks and meet us at the Five Points Fountain for a rollicking good time.
Cover photo credit: Crush Rush SC