Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy will receive the Sober St. Patrick's Day Emerald Spirit Award at its kickoff event on March 17, 2023.

Following New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Sober St. Patrick’s Day will host its marquee alcohol-free, family-friendly festival of world-class Irish music and dance.

This year the event is moving to a convenient new venue for its 12th anniversary, steps from the start of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The festivities will begin with the Pre-Parade Emerald Sprit Award Reception honoring former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, who will deliver remarks about the recent uptick in alcohol misuse in the U.S. and its collateral effects on American families, especially for growing numbers of young people.

After the reception, Sober St. Patrick’s Day will march for the second time down 5th Avenue in the historic parade, before closing out the evening with its marquee, multi-faceted, alcohol-free festival that “reclaims the day” with Irish music, dance, storytelling, and literature.

The Sober St. Patrick's Day Emerald Spirit Award is presented annually to a career professional to honor extraordinary dedication and devotion to improving the lives of family members of alcoholics and addicts - the frequently overlooked demographic affected by this disease.

Sober St. Patrick's Day Board of Directors stated they could not have chosen a more deserving Emerald Spirit Award honoree than former U.S. Representative and founder of the Kennedy Forum, Patrick J. Kennedy.

“As an Irish American and recovering alcoholic, I’m thrilled to reclaim the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day with this alcohol-free event,” said Kennedy. “Celebrating community, culture, and well-being is just what our country needs in this moment of mental health and addiction crisis.”

During his time in Congress, Patrick J. Kennedy co-authored the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law), which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer.

Among other initiatives, Kennedy is the co-founder of Psych Hub, the most comprehensive online learning platform on mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention topics in the world. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that unites advocates, business leaders, and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and addiction.

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In 2015, Kennedy co-authored the New York Times Bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” which details a bold plan for the future of mental health care in America.

In 2017, he was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

The organization’s mission is to reclaim the true spirit of St. Patrick's Day by changing the perception and experience from an occasion for binge drinking and other misuses of alcohol to a celebration of the richness of Irish culture and the legacy of St. Patrick.

Sober St. Patrick's Day Celebration begins March 17, at 11am in the undercroft of the Church of Our Saviour (Park Ave. & East 38th St.) for the Pre-Parade Emerald Sprit Award Reception, which all are welcome to attend.

The welcome also is extended to anyone who’d like to march in the parade under the Sober St. Patrick’s Day banner. The evening’s grand celebration of all things Irish runs from 5pm to 7pm.

For tickets and more information, please visit