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Leesburg may introduce Shamrocking BBQ & Beer festival in March

Leesburg leaders are looking at introducing the Shamrocking BBQ & Beer festival in March.

Leesburg Recreation Director Travis Rima presented a resolution this week to the Leesburg Commission to proceed with the special event permitting process for the Shamrocking BBQ & Beer festival on March 15-16, 2024.

Rima explained that his staff had received a special event application, site plan, and action plan for a Shamrocking BBQ & Beer Festival event from Brian Gamble and the Firefighter Charity Alliance of Lake County. Due to the current discussions regarding special events in the city, along with the multiple day street closures including Main Street and 5th/6th Street staff felt it appropriate to request permission to work with the event organizer through the special event committee to process the application and permit to host the event. 

Gamble explained that the festival had been held at the Gator Harley-Davidson dealership in years past and that the multi-day event would be expected to draw between 1,000 to 1,500 people per day to downtown Leesburg. The event could include a parade on Saturday, March 16 as well as the closing of Main Street from 5th and 6th Streets.

Gamble described the event as a family-friendly festival with an Irish theme. He said the festival is a Florida BBQ Association sanctioned BBQ State Championship Competition site for teams around the state to compete along with a beer garden and tastings for the general public.

Mellisa McCraken of McCracken’s Irish Pub also spoke in favor of the festival. She noted that downtown Leesburg and her establishment have had large crowds during the St. Patrick Day celebrations and combined with the BBQ State Championship the festival could bring 3,000 people to downtown Leesburg .

Commissioners unanimously agreed to have the Recreation Department work with the Firefighter Charity Alliance to develop the festival.

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