St. Patrick's Day: 17 Cities - Beyond the Obvious Ones - to Go Irish in the United States
St. Patrick's Day, the holiday when everyone -- regardless of ancestry – becomes Irish for the day is Monday, March 17. So here then are 17 U.S. cities to sip a pint, dance a jig and maybe sip another pint.
1. Dublin, California
It's more like St. Patrick's Weekend at this city's 31st Annual Celebration. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. March 15, followed by the festival. Run off all that Irish food and drink at the Shamrock 5K Fun Run & Walk Sunday morning.
2. Dublin, Georgia
The celebration got underway March 1, but on Super Saturday, March 22, festivities will be in full swing at the 49th Annual Dublin St. Patrick's Festival: the parade, annual tennis tournament and Leprechaun Road Race will all take place that day. The weekend before (March 14 – 16), however, features the annual Balloon Fest, Balloon Glow and Carnival.
3. Dublin, Ohio
Revelers start bright and early on March 15 to ready for The Greenest, Grandest St. Patrick's Day Parade. At 9:30 a.m., the Inflation Celebration begins and spectators can watch giant parade balloons come to life. The parade itself begins at 11 a.m. with more than 100 units spreading the Irish spirit to an estimated crowd of 23,000.
4. Dublin, Texas
In the "Irish Capital of Texas," the Central Texas community doubles in size as visitors come throughout the state to be Irish for the day, or days, starting March 13. Celebratory events include the parade featuring costumed adults, kids and pets, as well as decorated floats, antique cars and equestrian entries that celebrate the American cowboy and Mexican vaquero.
5. Butte, Montana
There are plenty of ways to celebrate in Butte, including the Shillelag Shindig on March 16 featuring live music, with more live music March 17 at Handing Down the Heritage. On March 17, the big parade begins at noon: St. Patrick himself will walk the route, as well as St. Urho, the Finnish saint who drove the grasshoppers out of Finland.
6. Dunedin, Florida
Flanagan's Festival on Florida's Gulf Coast begins at 11 a.m. on March 17 and lasts well into the night (11 p.m.). With two stages featuring Irish entertainment (think music and dancers), green beer, Irish food, a kids' crafts area and more, this is a family-friendly event that you're sure to enjoy.
7. Indianapolis, Indiana
On Monday, March 17, Indy's Irish Citizen of the Year, Thomas Patrick O'Brien, will serve as Grand Marshal of the Parade Presented by the Hoosier Lottery and lead 3,000 participants and more than 100 high school bands, floats, Catholic school representatives, Irish dancers, bag pipe and drum bands, Irish organizations and dignitaries along the parade route. 15,000 to 20,000 spectators are expected to be on hand.
8. Las Vegas, Nevada
What happens in Vegas doesn't have to stay in Vegas when it comes to the 48th Annual Southern Nevada Sons & Daughters of Erin Parade & Festival. With a theme like Shamrocks & Shenanigans, you know it's going to be fun. Four days of celebration began on March 13 and includes a carnival, festival, car show and live entertainment. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on March 15.
9. New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras is over, but the party hasn't stopped in the Big Easy. The celebration continues with block parties beginning March 15, and five parades, which started March 14, with the Downtown Irish Club Parade March 17 at 6 p.m.
10. O'Neill, Nebraska
Known as the Irish Capital of Nebraska, it's no surprise there are loads of events celebrating the day to wear green. Starting March 17 with the Painting O' the Shamrock, the week is filled with fun, including the 35th Annual Shamrock Fun Run, ending with the Grande Parade themed Seven Days of Green at 1 p.m. March 22.
11. Raleigh, North Carolina
The Raleigh Parade & Festival kicks off its 40 Shades of Green at 10 a.m. March 15 with more than 3,000 participants and an expected crowd of more than 35,000. Don't forget the festival afterwards: live music, dancing and loads of food.
12. Sacramento, California
At 1 p.m. on March 15, more than 1,000 marchers, including Irish dancers, bagpipers and bands, will make their way through Old Sacramento during the 18th annual parade, one of Northern California's largest and most colorful parades that unites all cultures. New this year: a family fun zone will be open 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
13. San Diego, California
The 34th Annual Parade & Festival is set for March 15 at Blaboa Park. More than 120 parade entries, including marching bands, floats, the Emerald societies, Boy and Girl Scouts, bagpipe contingents, and dance troops, will take to the streets and entertain the crowds. Live entertainment will be on two stages, and there will be plenty of food and crafts -– as well as beer.
14. Savannah, Georgia
The city's festivities began March 14 with an Irish Heritage Dance, followed by the 23rd Annual Tara Feis Irish Celebration on March 15. The culmination of the events, though, is the 190th Annual Parade, which will begin at 10:15 a.m. March 17.
15. Scituate, Massachusetts
On March 16 at 1 p.m., the seaside Scituate Parade begins in what was named in 2011 "the most Irish town in the United States," according to the U.S census.
16. St. Louis, Missouri
The 45th Annual Parade and 36th Annual Michelob Ultra St. Patrick's Day Parade Run takes to the streets of St. Louis and features elaborate floats, marching bands and units, dance groups, giant cartoon helium-filled balloons and more. The parade begins at noon March 15, and is preceded by a five-mile run, beginning at 9 a.m. Afterwards, visit the Irish Village for food, drink and live entertainment.
17. Salt Lake City, Utah
The theme for this year's Hibernian Society's St. Patrick's Day celebrations is Gift of the Gaels...a Legacy of Legend and Myth: banshee, leprechaun, pookas and changelings are expected to invade downtown Salt Lake City during the parade March 15. Afterwards, a siamsa -– or celebration –- will feature Irish food, drink and entertainment, including performances by musicians from Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland, SLC's sister city.
However you celebrate, here's to finding the luck of the Irish... Sláinte!