17 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day
Hangover not included
Strange things happen on March 17. Beer turns green. People start talking like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. Corned beef and cabbage shows up on the menus of local sports bars. Yes, for one day, Northeast Florida residents — regardless of their true ancestry — pretend to be Irish. While many folks couldn’t imagine celebrating St. Patrick’s Day without tossing back some pints of Guinness or shots of Jameson, alcohol isn’t necessarily a requirement. In fact, I’ve come up with 17 ways to get in the spirit — without spirits ... or stewed cabbage.
1. Find a bar with a jukebox and play as many U2 songs as possible until you run out of money — or get hit over the head with a shillelagh.
2. Take your dog—preferably an Irish setter, Irish terrier or Irish wolfhound—to the Jacksonville Landing for St. “Paw”ty’s Yappy Hour.
3. Hop aboard the Rally Bus and head to the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah. It picks up somewhere on Dunn Avenue before 6 a.m. and will get you home 13 hours later ... if you're lucky.
4. Enjoy a “smooth and creamy” mint-flavored Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s — but only for a limited time! (I’m still waiting for the ultra-limited time McRib Shake.)
5. Drive to the Emerald Isle: actually Emerald Isle Circle in a neighborhood just off Beach Boulevard and Killarney Drive. And don't miss Blarney Stone Court, St. Patrick Lane or Leprechaun Court.
6. Take in the "mesmerizing blend of traditional and modern Celtic music and dance," known as Lord of the Dance on March 15 at the Times-Union Center.
7. Hit the road in the St. Patty's Day Run 10K and 5K on March 17 at 8 a.m. and try not to think about the fact that you're running through a cemetery.
8. Watch the green fireworks over the St. Johns River at the Northbank and Southbank.
9. Stock up on Jaguars St. Patrick's Day gear, like ball caps, T-shirts, pajama pants and boxer shorts. (Bonus: If the NFL decides to extend the season to March 17—or the team moves to Dublin—you're ahead of the game.)
13. Browse around the House of Ireland gift shop in St. Augustine known for its jewelry, Celtic crosses, flags, tea and family heritage plaques. (I can only hope their selection of "Irish fragrances" doesn't include Eau du Rotting Potatoes or Whiskey Puke Parfum.)
16. Spend some quiet time of reflection at St. Patrick Catholic Church on the Northside (especially if you ignored the previous 15 suggestions and went drinking anyway).