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SoberRide program for St. Patrick’s Day (image via WRAP)

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is bringing back its St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide program this weekend.

From noon on Sunday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) until midnight, residents 21 and older who have been drinking can input a SoberRide code into their Lyft app and receive a no-cost (up to $15) trip home.

The promo code will be posted at 11 a.m. on March 17 on the SoberRide website.

Last year, 904 people used the SoberRide program during St. Patrick’s Day, WRAP reported. The program has been active in the region since 1991.

“Nearly half of U.S. traffic fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day involve drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s President, in a release.

Mango Mike Anderson in Del Ray (staff photo by James Cullum)

He’s not remotely Irish, but Alexandria restaurant owner “Mango” Mike Anderson is the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday.

A local celebrity of sorts, Anderson will lead the parade down King Street and to the reviewing stand on Royal Street in the heart of Old Town.

“I have been devoted to Alexandria for more than 50 years, not only as a homeowner but as a business owner,” Anderson said. “I hear there’s going to be 25,000 people there. It’s just terrific to have this kind of honor. I truly consider Alexandria to be my hometown.”

Turns out that this is the second consecutive parade where Anderson is the grand marshal, since he’s a Living Legend of Alexandria. All of the Living Legends were honorary parade marshals at the George Washington Birthday Parade earlier this month.

“Alexandria is the greatest,” Anderson said. “You’ve got history, proximity to the nation’s capital, and the great variety of people who live in the city. Almost everybody who lives in Alexandria is pretty passionate about it, which you can see at the city council meetings. This stuff creates a great community, and I also happen to be a proud member of this city’s restaurant community.”

Anderson is co-owner of the Homegrown Restaurant Group, which includes Pork Barrel BBQHoly Cow Del Ray, Del Ray’s pop-up bar, Whisky & OysterSweet Fire Donna’s and Tequila & Taco. He moved to Alexandria in the early 1970s and opened his first restaurant, Irish-themed Shooter McGee’s in 1979. He later owned and operated the Caribbean-themed Mango Mike’s in the West End for nearly 20 years.

Bill Blackburn is Anderson’s partner, and said that he doesn’t like to do things small, or simply.

“One of Mike’s favorite sayings is, if you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly,” Blackburn said. “I think he lives by those words. He doesn’t like to do anything small. From 30-foot-tall palm trees at Mango Mike’s to 30-foot tall Christmas trees in Del Ray, he’s always going bigger.”

Anderson, who is married to Donna (of Sweet Fire Donna’s), is known for creating outlandish spectacles, including scouting for the Del Ray Christmas tree by air (he’s a pilot and owns two small planes) and paying for it to get cut down, delivered and erected every year. His itch to open new restaurants is tempered, he says, by the seasonal transformations at the Del Ray pop-up bar. Right now it’s an Aspen-themed ski lodge with a gondola parked out front.

Few city events, however, are as spectacular as a parade, and Anderson said that he was always jealous of Pat Troy, the founder of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and owner of the now-closed Ireland’s Own bar in Old Town.

“I was always pretty jealous of Pat,” Anderson said. “He was able to put together this terrific parade that’s transcended him and has lasted 41 years. I’m just so pleased to be a part of it this year.”

The Ballyshaners announced Anderson as parade marshal in January.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade route 2024 (photo via Ballyshaners/Facebook)

Alexandria knows how to throw a great parade, and the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 2, should be a good one.

The parade will start at the intersection of King and St. Asaph streets and move east along King Street to Lee Street. From there the parade turns north one block then heads back west along Cameron Street to the Pitt Street intersection.

A reviewing stand will be set up on Royal Street.

The parade will also come with a host of road closures around Old Town, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. Parked cars will be cleared away starting at 9 a.m.

Prince Street and Queen Street will both be blocked off from Washington Street to Lee Street. Saint Asaph street will be closed from Duke Street to Queen Street to accommodate the staging area.

There are several parking garages throughout Old Town, but there will be $5 all-day parking at the Courthouse Garage and the City Hall Garage.

Notably, both of those are behind the road closures, so those hoping to take advantage of that $5 all-day parking might not be able to access their cars between 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

For those currently at the parade on Saturday who found this article frantically googling “Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day parade bathrooms” there are five public restrooms around the parade route at:

  • The Market Square Garage
  • Ramsay House
  • Torpedo Factory
  • City Marina
  • Robinson Landing Building

Need to get your Irish on? While Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been pushed off until September, there are two Irish-themed bar crawls coming to the city in the days ahead.

The Shamrock Stampede will descend on Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood on Saturday, March 12. Participating restaurants include Whiskey & Oyster, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, Lost Boy Cider and Joe Theismann’s Restaurant.

The event includes outfit contests, giveaways and raffles. It runs from 2 to 6 p.m. and costs $10. All registration proceeds will be donated to ALIVE!.

On the actual St. Patrick’s Day — Thursday, March 17 — Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant & Bar (112 King Street) will start things off with musician Mike Richards from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by four-piece rock band By All Means from 7 to 11 p.m.

But that’s not all.

On Saturday, March 19, six King Street restaurants will host the fifth annual Lucky’s St. Patrick’s Day Crawl. The event runs from 4 to 10 p.m., and tickets cost $20-25 per person.

“We will shuttle our leprechauns, four-clover wearers, Irish lovers and everyone else on the King Street Trolly between all restaurants,” event organizers wrote on Facebook.

Participating restaurants:

Photo via Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub/Facebook


Morning Notes

Police say no foul play suspected after body found in Four Mile Run Park — “Police activity in park behind 3900 block of Mt. Vernon has cleared. An adult male subject was found in the park. At this time, it does not appear to be suspicious. This is a Medical Examiner’s case.” [Twitter]

Fire Chief Smedley promotes staff — “In addition to promoting Lt. Sharpe and EMS Lt. Prodoehl, @SmedleyCorey promoted 18 other Lieutenants, EMS Lieutenants, and Captains. We’re celebrating the promotion of about 8% of our department. Congratulations to our new officers and thank you for everything you do!” [Twitter]

Ballyshaners to celebrate halfway point to St. Patrick’s Day — “On Saturday, September 18, from 11am-7pm, local Irish group The Ballyshaners welcome you to celebrate the halfway point to Saint Patrick’s Day.”

The Art League showcases the work of Bryan Sieling — “Enjoy collecting objects you’ve found? There is a new exhibit at The Art League Gallery on display through Sept.5 that takes collecting one step farther. Artist Bryan Sieling transforms objects into amazing works.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Showers early then scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High near 80F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%… Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. Low 73F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” []

New job: Full-time assistant store manager at Aldi — “When you join our team as an Assistant Store Manager, you’ll take on key store management responsibilities including assisting with supervising day-to-day store activities, ensuring overall store performance, managing schedules, and developing operational action plans while identifying training opportunities to develop and grow the team.” [Indeed]


Morning Notes

Beyer Co-sponsoring Legislation to Impeach U.S. Attorney General — “Accusing political opponents of “sedition” then morphing into an arch libertarian when Trump cronies are indicted. Attacking career prosecutors for doing their jobs. AG Barr is a menace to the rule of law–I’m cosponsoring legislation to begin impeachment proceedings against him.” [Twitter]

Absentee Voting Begins Today in Alexandria — “The ballot includes contests for President and Vice President of the United States, one member of the U.S. Senate, the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th Congressional District, and two amendments to the Constitution of Virginia.” [Patch]

King & Rye Opens in Alexandria — “Check out @Alexandrian_VA’s new restaurant, King & Rye. This downtown restaurant opened earlier this month, and features a large outdoor patio, intimate terrace, and full bar serving specialty cocktails. The perfect location for a private event.” [Twitter]

Douglas MacArthur Elementary School Rebuild Comes in Over Budget — “City Council approved a development special use permit on Saturday for the Douglas MacArthur Modernization Project, which is currently $5 to $7 million over budget. The project, which involves demolishing the existing Douglas MacArthur Elementary School and rebuilding a new one, will increase the school’s capacity from 558 to 850 students.” [Alex Times]

Alexandria Police Conduct Deescalation Training — “Yesterday APD’s Tactical Training and Response Unit conducted officer safety and deescalation training with the Traffic Safety Section. These training’s teach ways to stabilize situations so that more time, options, and resources can be called upon.” [Twitter]

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub Celebrates Half-Way to St. Patrick’s Day — See Irish music on a Facebook Live performance from Thursday night. [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, partly to mostly cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 74F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. At night, a few clouds. Low 49F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.” []

New Job: Marketing Manager — “Develop and manage strategic, comprehensive marketing campaigns for NSBA (National School Boards Association) revenue- generating products, services and events.” [Indeed]


It was the perfect day for a parade as Alexandria celebrated the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Fun Dog Show on Saturday.

With sunny weather and temperatures in the 50s, thousands watched the procession of more than 2,000 participants, including Irish dancers, historic reenactors and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums. The festivities, which included the Fun Dog Show at Market Square outside City Hall, were sponsored by the Ballyshaners, a nonprofit dedicated to Irish heritage.

The Grand Marshall was John Brennan, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, and one of the original owners of Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar (112 King Street).

You have to wait a bit for the next parade in Old Town: next up is the 50th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk on Saturday, Dec. 5.

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Morning Notes

New Inova Facility Planned — “Inova Health System plans to open a new health care facility on part of Oakville Triangle, giving another try to the 13-acre site on Richmond Highway in Alexandria across from a planned Virginia Tech campus and a short distance from Inc.’s second headquarters.” [Washington Business Journal]

Christmas Attic Closes — “One of Alexandria’s most beloved businesses, The Christmas Attic at 125 S. Union St., has closed its doors after nearly 50 years in business near the Alexandria waterfront. The year-round winter wonderland offered a special shopping experience.” [Alexandria Living]

Food Truck Serves Fido — “A food truck for dogs? Yup, and not a truck that rolls up and hands out kibble. Woofbowl serves up treats like burgers, fries, and pho… [The truck] frequently pulls up to Del Ray’s Saturday Farmers Market.” [Zebra]

Port City IPA Release Party Tonight — “Introducing a brand new beer to our Limited Release lineup, Star Sailor White IPA! Made with 100% VA Grown Wheat, this hop forward hazy golden beer has fruity notes that will leave you refreshed and ready for star gazing.” [Port City Brewing]

St. Pat’s Parade This Weekend — “Alexandria will turn green at the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Fun Dog Show on Saturday, March 7. The festivities are sponsored by the Ballyshaners, a nonprofit dedicated to Irish heritage, and are expected to include more than 2,000 participants.” [ALXnow]

Reminder: Daylight Saving Time Returns — “Love it or hate it, our annual ritual of early March – daylight saving time – is coming this weekend. At 2 a.m. Sunday, the few analog clocks still around must ‘spring forward’ an hour, turning 1:59:59 a.m. into 3 a.m.” [USA Today]

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Alexandria will turn green at the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Fun Dog Show on Saturday, March 7.

The festivities are sponsored by the Ballyshaners, a nonprofit dedicated to Irish heritage, and are expected to include more than 2,000 participants, including Irish dancers, the Kena Shriners with their mini Corvettes and the famous City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.

The Grand Marshall of this year’s parade is John Brennan, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, and one of the original owners of Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar (112 King Street).

While the parade is scheduled to kick off at 12:15 p.m., Irish eyes will officially start smiling at 10:30 a.m. with the Fun Dog Show at Market Square outside City Hall (301 King Street). Dozens of costumed canines compete in such categories as Best Human/Canine Look-Alike, Most Talented and Most St. Paddy’s Spirit, according to Visit Alexandria. The event benefits the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

The parade will begin at King and Alfred Streets and finish at Lee and Cameron Streets.


Morning Notes

Bar Owner to Lead St. Pat’s Parade — “The Ballyshaners have selected John Brennan, owner of Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar as Grand Marshal of the 2020 Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Brennan, of Kilkenny, Ireland and an Old Town homeowner has been an active member of Alexandria’s business community since opening Daniel O’Connell’s in 2006.” [Zebra]

Recycling Collection Still Delayed — “City recycling collection remains delayed due to winter weather earlier this week. Residents that did not receive collection service on their normal day will receive service on the following day.” [Twitter]

Old Town Store Expands to Tysons — “A new Tysons Corner Center store is selling hand-crafted furniture and accessories for people decorating in a French Regency-style. Tradition de France opened in November on the first level of the mall by Lord & Taylor and is the second location for the Alexandria-based, family-owned business.” [Tysons Reporter]


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