St. Patrick’s Day. Once upon a time, it was about rainbows and leprechauns, green bagels and milk, and maybe even some cheap plastic “gold” to be sought out in the schoolyard. So how did morph into all-day pub crawls, all-out debauchery and gratuitous pints of Guinness?
Maybe you’ve grown up and had kids, or maybe you’re simply looking for something more traditional and laid-back this year. Well, rest assured—there are options! Peruse our list of (family-friendly!) St. Patrick’s Day events below for suggestions. –Chelsea Karnash
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
Burlington Co. St. Patrick’s Day Parade
64 S. High St.
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060
South Jersey’s only St. Patrick’s Day parade begins at Fairgrounds Plaza, continues down High Street, then makes a right onto Washington Street, ending at Town Hall. Post-parade, live Irish music and dancing will continue all day and into the night.
Yardley Community Centre
64 S. Main St.
Yardley, Pa. 19067
7:30 – 9:30 p.m., $8-15
Irish folk singer and Ambler restaurateur Gerry Timlin will perform music that’s perfect for singing and dancing. And don’t forget to make dinner reservations at the Yardley Inn before the show—they’ll be serving up “Stew with Lamb and Guinness,” in honor of the holiday.
SUNDAY, MARCH 6
Traditional Irish Music Brunch
Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room
534 Main St.
Bethlehem, Pa. 18018
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Granny McCarthy’s offers live, traditional music every Sunday, and this Sunday, they’ll also offer a traditional Irish brunch. Call for more info.
Irish rockers Blackthorn are the star performers at this year’s parade fundraiser, but there will also be the usual standbys—great food and drinks and raffles.
THURSDAY, MARCH 10
Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Wreath Laying Ceremony
City Hall, West Side
This tribute to Irish patriots will take place at City Hall.
Mayor Nutter’s Proclamation of Irish Month
City Hall, Mayor’s Reception Room #206
The City of Brotherly Love’s mayor will declare March “Irish Month.”
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Luncheon and Sashing of the Great Marshal
Double Tree Hotel
Broad & Locust Streets
This ceremonial luncheon sees the sashing of the 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Marshall.
AOH Irish Coffee Contest
AOH Notre Dame Hall
342 Jefferson St.
Swedeburg, Pa. 19405
6 – 9 p.m.
Okay, so this one is for parents or much older kids: Representatives from 11 Montgomery County area pubs will show off their versions of Irish coffee, and Grand Marshal James Dougherty, along with past Conshohocken parade marshals, will judge the best. Doors open at 6 p.m.
SATURDAY, MARCH 12
Bucks Co. St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Levittown, Pa. 19054
10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Bucks Co. St. Pat’s Parade kicks off with a mass at St. Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Church, and then the parade itself begins at New Falls Road. After the procession, the post-parade Hoolie will be held at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles (920 Trenton Road in Fairless Hills).
St. Patty’s Day Dine
100 Sesame Rd.
Langhorne, Pa. 19047
Noon; Kids from $17, Adults from $24
Join your favorite “Sesame Street” characters for a lunch that celebrates all things green! The event includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, dessert and a sing-a-long.
Springfield (Delco.) St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Springfield, Pa. 19064
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The Delco parade begins at Springfield Road, continuing to Saxer Avenue and Powell.
Conshohocken St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Conshohocken, Pa. 19428
2 – 5 p.m.
Conshy’s 6th annual parade starts at 11th and Fayette Streets and ends at Elm and Fayette. It attracts thousands and features live music, dancing and floats. Many pubs along the route will offer Irish or St. Patrick’s Day menu options.
SUNDAY, MARCH 13
*Note: Daylight savings time—turn your clocks ahead 1 hour!
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Mass
St. Patrick’s Church
20th & Locust Streets
Cardinal Rigali will lead this mass at Philly’s St. Patrick’s Church, followed by refreshments in School Hall.
241st St. Patrick’s Day Parade
16th & JFK Blvd.
12 – 3 p.m.
Philadelphia’s 241st (!!!) St. Patrick’s Day Parade will start at 16th and JFK and end at Kelly Drive near the Waterworks. The theme this year is—as always—St. Patrick, but also the service of religious sisters. CBS 3 and The CW’s Susan Barnett, Kathy Orr and Bob Kelly will be hosting, and the parade will be broadcast live on The CW Philly. CBSPhilly.com will also live-stream the event. Expect floats, entertainment, food and of course, a lot of green.
Leprechaun’s Leap for the Kids for South Jersey Cancer Fund
14th St. South Beach
Brigantine, NJ 08203
1 p.m.; Sponsorships welcome, including “Pot of Gold” – $500, “Shamrock Splash” – $100 or “Paddy’s Pal” – $50
If you’re closer to the beach than the city, don’t miss the Kids for SJCF’s Leprechaun’s Leap, a pet costume contest and variation on the polar plunge. The pet costume contest starts at 1:30 p.m. and features a special appearance from World’s Ugliest Dog 2007, Elwood, and the actual leap (into the icy ocean!) is at 2 p.m…to the tune of live bagpipers, of course! There will also be music from the Irish Sand Crabs, food and a 50/50 drawing.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16
24 W. Temple Ave.
Sellersville, Pa. 18960
8 p.m., $33-45
Celtic Crossroads features strong percussion beats and mixes traditional Irish music with the sounds of bluegrass, jazz and gypsy.
THURSDAY, MARCH 17
St. Patrick’s Day Wreath Laying Ceremony
Front & Chestnut Streets
This commemoration is set to take place outside, at the Irish Memorial, on St. Patrick’s Day.
Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance
Patriots Theater at the War Memorial
1 Memorial Dr.
Trenton, NJ 08608
8 p.m., $25-65
What better time to see Flatley’s legendary Lord of the Dance than on St. Patrick’s Day? The repeat box office sell-out makes a stop in Trenton on Ireland’s most well-known holiday.