What to do on St. Patrick's Day: Top picks for March 17 fun in yyc

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It’s time to honour the luck of the Irish and the wearing of the green! It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day — Sunday, March 17. While St. Patrick’s Day was originally a Christian feast, over the years it became a day to celebrate the culture and spirit of Ireland no matter where one lives. Here’s a look at some of the St. Paddy Day events happening in Calgary this year.

Get your sweat on (and win your body weight in beer)

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Hey, it’s likely you’ll be consuming some calories on St. Patrick’s Day (think beer, bar food, Irish stew, etc.), so it might be a good idea to work up a sweat beforehand. That’s where the 37th annual St. Patrick’s Day Road Race comes in, with both 5K and 10K events. More than 1,000 runners and walkers will take to the streets starting at Central Memorial High School (5111 – 21st Street S.W.), in support of Diabetes Canada and the Calgary Road Runners. Race day bonus? You have a chance to win your weight in Village Beer!

Runners show their Irish spirit as they raced off the start in a previous year’s St. Patrick’s Day Road Race. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Get authentic with local Irish experts

Want to celebrate with those Calgarians who really know what Irish culture is all about? For just $10 an adult, $5 a youth or $20 a family, you can take in two floors of musicians, dancers, choir and food at the Irish Cultural Society of Calgary. Festivities start at 1 p.m. on March 17 at 6452 – 35th Avenue N.W. On Saturday, March 16, the society hosts a concert with Irish virtuoso guitarist Shane Hennessy.

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Wearing the colour green is essential on St. Patrick’s Day, whether you’re celebrating with the Irish Cultural Societ or anyone else. Postmedia Calgary file photo. cal

Go green with Calgary’s Roughnecks

Calgary’s Roughnecks lacrosse team has developed a reputation for not only providing fans with a good game, but also providing a good time. That’s especially the case on Friday, March 15, as the Roughnecks take on the San Diego Seals.   Green beads and hats will be given to fans; a halftime show features Celtic/rock music by the band LowTide; a live DJ and games will be taking centre stage in the west concourse beer gardens; and, more music from LowTide will fill the Telus Club at a post-game party.

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st. patrick's day
Fans cheer on the Calgary Roughnecks at a previous year’s St. Patrick’s Day match at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Go ahead: Drink green beer

Many pubs throughout the city are offering drink, food and entertainment specials throughout the weekend in honour of St. Paddy’s Day, but a couple to check out include:

  • The Dorset Pub & Eatery, at 37 Street and 17 Avenue S.W., has live entertainment on both Friday and Saturday night, along with Irish dancers appearing at various times throughout the day on Sunday, March 17 and live music from 4-6 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. Green beer, Guinness and Kilkenny will be flowing.
  • James Joyce, an authentic Irish pub, has a St. Patrick’s Day weekend festival occurring, with live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along with a full Irish menu. They’ve even got VIP tickets available for Saturday and Sunday, so you can skip any line-ups to the pub.
  • If you’re looking for an Irish pub close to your neighbourhood, TripAdvisory offers this list of Irish pubs in Calgary.
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Green beer is often the order of the day at pubs on St. Patrick’s Day, as seen in this shot with Mark Handziuk at the James Joyce on 4th Irish Pub on March 17, 2022. Postmedia Calgary file photo.

Other St. Patrick’s day offerings

  • While the fiddle is often featured in Irish music, those inclined to take in violin music of another kind might be interested in the March 15 and 16 concerts by acclaimed American violinist Philippe Quint and the Calgary Philharmonic, as they perform a new violin concerto by composer Errollyn Wallen and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 at ArtsCommons.
  • Classic and modern Irish songs will be part of a duelling piano event at the Millican Ogden Community Association Hall (2110 – 69 Ave. S.E.) on March 16 at 7 p.m.
  • For the strong of stomach, the Bust Loose Shamrock Shaker Pub Crawl is on again this year. Visiting four drinking establishments, tickets start at $30 for events on both Saturday and Sunday night, ending at Cowboys Dance Hall.
  • Willow Park Wines & Spirits is offering a sipping journey through the Emerlad Isle, featuring stories, history and a variety of Irish malts at its Irish Whiskey Excursion on March 16.
  • At Calgary Farmers’ Markets, it’s a day of St. Paddy’s Day shenanigans. At the south market, Irish dancers take centre stage at 11 a.m., followed by the Bow Valley Fiddlers at 1 p.m. and a contemporary/traditional Irish musical performance by Naomi and Dom at 2:30. At the west location, The Crickettes duo will start entertaining market goers at 3 p.m. with ukuleles and beautiful harmonies.

For ongoing listings of weekend events, check out our events calendar here.

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