Sunday, March 18, 2012

Springdale St. Patrick’s Day

If you happen to be anywhere near the vicinity of southwest Utah next St. Patrick’s Day, you may or may not want to find your way to the tiny burg of Springdale at the entrance to Zion National Park. 

Springdale Jello Queens head up the parade

This year was the approximately 27th annual Springdale St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Green Jello Carving Contest.

Bagpipes echo in Zion Canyon

There was a parade of magnificent proportions! 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Belly dancers and bicyclists join the parade

Rolling along!

One of not-too-many floats

Riding high!

Zion National Park fire engine makes some noise

The World Famous Rockville Drill Team maintained their usual precision form. 

World Famous Rockville Drill Team

After the parade, lively Irish music was provided by the Yankee Clippers from Salt Lake City (who have been playing every Springdale St. Patrick’s Day for at least the past 24 years). 

Yankee Clipper plays for the crowd

It would be difficult to find a better setting for a beer garden.

Enjoying a St. Patrick's Day beverage in the beer garden

Would you buy a beer from these guys?

But the most anticipated event was the ever–popular green jello carving contest with cash prizes. Using the “official food of Utah” as its theme, entrants set a new bar for creativity. 

Green jello sculpture

Green jello food pyramid
Green jello grasshopper cocktail

A jello judge pondering Mt. Killiman-Jell-o

Leprechaun jello wedding cake with gum ball garnish

Irish Angry Birds was the First Prize Winner!

 I personally drove 45 miles from St. George to attend the festivities, stopping to pick up an old friend along the way. We then picked up two of her friends and neighbors along our way. 

We came from all over the county!


Another friend’s daughter drove 150 miles ALL THE WAY from Las Vegas. KM’s granddaughter has had a green jello entry for nearly the last ten years. They had to be here to carry on the tradition! 

Three generations at the Green Jello Carving contest

There was a bright striped tent to protect the green jello entries from the elements. 

A striped tent protect the jello entries

In a less than scientific survey we were asked to decide “Which jello do you prefer? Jiggly or not jiggly?” 

Jiggly or not jiggly?  You decide.

The town of Springdale sits at the entrance to Zion National Park and sees millions of visitors yearly (mainly during the summer months). In mid–March, though, the masses of people are absent and everyone in town is Irish. 

Next year, come join the fun!


  1. Way, way, way, way too much fun! I expect you to bring green jello with pineapple and cream cheese to Thanksgiving Dinner this year! It was my Mom's fav.

    I so wanna be a Jello Queen!

    And I would totally buy beer from those boys!

    I also tried to get a Ranger's Drill Team prepped for the West Yell 4th Parade, but word got out and we were told, um, no.

    1. I will definitely bring the green jello goulash to Thanksgiving dinner - and I may even include pistachios if I can find some.

      The last time I went to the parade, guys in prom dresses were the Jello Queens. I really miss them...

      Too bad about the Ranger's Drill Team. We should be able to think of something (especially considering Sacha's party games last September!).

  2. What a fun day you folks had. Totally enjoy quirky, small town celebrations like this.

    1. I know! Just too much fun in one quirky afternoon.

      This event does not seem to have grown in size one bit since I started going in the late 90's. You would think that it being so near Zion that it would attract many more people, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    2. woo hoo Nina! Looks like a place and time for the Lester!

      Then, I'm thinking, doesn't it always?

  3. What a great celebration, especially the jello carving. Looks like all of Springdale and more came out.

    Rangers Drill team sounds like fun. But the only parade we have at the North Rim is 4th of July when we shoot water and if your not in a vehicle you're soaked.

    1. Not sure how many "and more" is!

      But Zion travelers unknowingly end up at the end of the parade, since highway 9 through town is closed - for, oh, 20 minutes! - while the parade works its way up to the jello carving area.

  4. I remember Springdale from our trip to Zion! Sadly we weren't there in March, which is a bummer because this event looks like a lot of fun. :)

    1. Springdale is a great little town any time of year, Christy. Perhaps one day you might end up there in March!

  5. Nina, I have ALWAYS wanted to attend a St. Patrick's Day celebration in Springdale but never have. Thanks to your excellent photographs and descriptions, I feel like I have been there and done that. You are the greatest! I love all of your Posts and all of your Photos. Thanks a million trillion for allowing me to experience God's beautiful country through your eyes. Love and blessings, Wanda

    1. Hi Wanda - Very funny you should mention never having gotten to the Springdale St. Patrick's Day parade - all those years ago we were so busy hiking on Saturdays, and couldn't bring ourselves to do anything else!

      There is a whole world out there to discover!

      So glad you finally went to the parade - even vicariously! It has changed very little over the years, which is nice.

  6. What a crazy festival, and they say there is no culture in the US. Hilarious. I like the Mt Killamanjello

    1. Andrew -

      The Springdale St. Patrick's Day Parade and Green Jello Carving Contest is indeed THE cultural high point in southern Utah!

      Mt. Killimanjello was my favorite, too. I'm not at all sure that our little "judge" in the pink hat knew quite what to make of it all.

  7. This looks like a crazy, but fun way to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. I would totally love to nom on Mt. Killimanjello.

    1. Bret - Don't know if the artists who created Mt.Killimanjello enjoyed a nom after the festivities. I'll bet they would have shared if they had!