Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park and Riverwalk gave the St. Patrick's Day celebrations a front row seat to the greening of the Hillsborough River

The 8th annual-and possibly final-Mayor’s River O'Green Fest kicks off St. Patty's day weekend

It must be St. Patrick's Day weekend. The river is green and the mayor is walking around in his Shamrock festooned green trousers. Thousands are gathered in Curtis Hixon Park and along the Riverwalk, everyone is dressed in green and acting Irish for the day. Kids are playing cool games, and the lines for beer are several yards long. Happy River O’Green Fest!

Mayor Bob Buckhorn was given an honorary Lightning jersey in commemoration of his last Mayor's River O'Green Fest.jpg

It's a fun celebration but somewhat bittersweet. Mayor Bob Buckhorn is saying goodbye to the city that he has promoted and changed for the last eight years. Term limits says he has to go but he clearly is not ready.

Buckhorn acknowledges Medal of Honor recipients Robert O’Malley and James Charles McCloughan, both Irish, on stage at the River O'Green Festival 2019 before signaling the official start of the festival and the greening of the river

I asked Mayor Buckhorn if he was ready to leave office. He said on his last day we would find claw marks on his desk where they dragged him out. He is seen here posing with

two Tampa Police officers.

I asked Buckhorn if he's ready to step down. He told me in no uncertain terms that on his last day there will be claw marks on his desk because they had to drag him out of the building. He noted how much the city has changed under his administration and direction. For nearly a decade he has been Tampa's biggest cheerleader and will leave a legacy of success for our city.

Let the greening begin. At 11 o'clock, following a signal from the Mayor’s daughter, boats begin dropping dye into the water. The Hillsborough River is turned green by a non-toxic biodegradable dye for the Mayor’s River O'Green Festival

A boat zigzags back and forth dropping the yellow/green liquid dye into the water. The boats prop helps to churn and agitate the mixture.

Tampa Fire and Rescue boat Patriot helps blend the green dye into the Hillsborough River using its water cannons for the Mayor's River O'Green 2019.

In years past several boats zigzagged and circled while dropping dye into the river. They continue to weave back and forth until all of the green was dispersed and mixed in. This year the Tampa Fire Rescue boat Patriot used its water cannons to help stir things up. It is quite a scene right in front of the Riverwalk as they spin and and churn! Festival goers had a front row seat.

Incoming! A volleyball is thrown by participants trying to sink it in the red baskets. Teams lined up on two sides and the first team to sink three baskets won!

What’s a River O'Green Festival without games? There were several activities for kids both in Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Gardens. Adult activities? Beer!

Give a bunch of oversized chess pieces to little boys and it looks more like bowling. One of them would stand a piece up, and another would knock it down. Checkmate!

Fun can be educational. Kids could spell out whatever they want as part of this oversized Scrabble game.

Look at that form. A beanbag toss game, more commonly known as Cornhole, is part of the fun.

It's hard to say if the River O'Green Festival will return. A new administration might have different ideas on celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Nonetheless it has been a fun run. From one old Tampeño to another, thank you for all you have done, Mr. Mayor. Luck O’ The Irish to you!