Saint Patrick’s Day 2014 is almost here, and with it a celebration of all things Irish. Plenty of activities are planned around Georgia to mark the occasion, and a few of them started early. Some, but not all, of the events are in the metro Atlanta area.
The St. Patrick’s Day 5K is planned for March 15. The race kicks off at 8:30 a.m. and runners will begin and end at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. The popular race was previously held in the Virginia Highland area, but moved to Piedmont Park to accommodate the increasing number of walkers and runners. Shamrock beads will be plentiful, and there will be pot o’ gold drawings for prizes, a costume contest and an Irish Jig contest.
The Publix Marathon and Half-Marathon attracts more than 16,000 runners every Saint Patrick’s Day, and this year’s race is scheduled for March 23. It starts and finishes at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, so bring a seat and get a good spot along the race route to watch the race. The runners will thread their way through some of the most beautiful areas in Little Five Points, Decatur Square and Piedmont Park.
The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Peachtree Street in Atlanta is a family-friendly tradition, and one of the south’s oldest celebrations. More than 2,000 Irish dancers, dignitaries, musicians and floats will make an appearance, as will a team of Clydesdale draft horses. The parade begins at the corner of Peachtree and 15th streets and proceeds south.
Savannah officially goes green March 14-17 with its Saint Patrick’s Day celebration on River Street, organized by the Savannah Waterfront Association. The fun will center around Rousakis Riverfront Plaza. The activities are free, and wristbands for outdoor consumption are $5 per day. A musical extravaganza takes place with local groups like Ancient Cities, VooDoo Soup, Gasoline Brothers, Train Wrecks, and other musical artists playing on five stages.
From now until the end of March, Dublin, nestled in the heart of Georgia, is the site of nonstop Irish celebrations. The activities kicked off with the Miss Saint Patrick’s Scholarship Pageant, Little’s Leprechaun Contest and the St. Patrick’s Awards Banquet. They continue with Pig in the Park and Baby Erin Go Braugh. Only here will you find activities like the Leprechaun Road Race and the St. Patrick’s Tennis Tournament, capped off by the Blessing of the Bikes on March 29.
Tybee Island pulls out all the stops with its Irish Heritage Celebration parade on March 15. The parade , held in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, begins at 3 p.m. and travels down Butler Avenue to Tybrisa Street. Tybee Island’s close proximity to the ocean makes it a charming place to commemorate Saint Patrick’s Day, and when the sun goes down you can continue the celebration at Murphy’s Law Irish Pub, Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub, or Reilly’s Grill and Bar.
Irish culture is here to stay, and considering March is National Irish American Heritage Month, observing Saint Paddy’s Day is quite appropriate. Attend any one of these celebrations, or find one of your own. And don’t be surprised if you see leprechauns guarding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.