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On March 17, downtown Vista will host their first St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While traditionally these types of events have civic leaders as parade grand marshals, the organizers, Vista Village Business Association, in connection with the social organization Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, have instead chosen fiddler Patric Petrie for the honor. The Clairemont-based musician is best known for her work with the group Skelpin, which won Best World Music album at the 2010 San Diego Music Awards for their album A Trip to Skye.

"It's an unexpected honor. I mean, who would ever expect to be asked to head a parade?" Petrie said. "I'm thrilled, but I would have thought this sort of thing was reserved for politicians."

"We have those too," pointed out Association executive director, Gumaro Escarcega. "It's just that this is an arts festival and we thought the choice of grand marshal should reflect that." He notes that while one of the reasons for the parade is to give the area a positive image and in the process hopefully increase retail and restaurant revenue, "We're also trying to make sure we promote the musicians and the arts elements of North County."

Petrie, a regular on the North County pub circuit, was nominated by the events 12-person committee. "We wanted to make a little change from what people consider a typical parade, in that we don't just focus on politicians or our mayor or any of that," Escarcega continued. "They're going to be in the parade, but it's about promoting the arts in the community."

Petrie is currently recording her debut solo album, as well as playing shows around the state alongside David Lally, Colin Clyne, and Skelpin.

According to Escarcega, between 4000 and 7000 attendees are expected for the inaugural parade. Petrie will ride in a convertible, part of approximately 35 entries in the parade. Afterward, she will perform a full concert accompanied by guitarist David Lally on the main stage at South Indiana Street between Main Street and Broadway. For her part, Petrie maintains she's adding just one thing to her repertoire for this event. "I've been rehearsing my princess wave for the car ride," she said.

vvba.org/st-patricks-day-parade

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