An Irish blessing in Chicago

Everybody knows that Chicago’s famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade—and the dyeing o’ the river—is the spot to celebrate all things Irish. But the festive fun doesn’t have to stop once the last jig is danced and the last bagpipe is piped.

Instead of setting out on a bar crawl (your younger self sends its regards) or returning to another humdrum Saturday afternoon, head to the Irish American Heritage Center, where the Gaelic gaiety continues with the annual St. Patrick’s Festival. This celebration is overflowing with fun for the whole family, from genealogy workshops and language lessons for the olds to face painting and kid-friendly music for the littles.

And all ages will thank their lucky charms for the Irish music and dance—both traditional and contemporary—as well as lots of yummy Irish fare to eat (save us a nice big slice of soda bread!). If you prefer your beverages without that weird green color, don’t worry, you can buy a pint of the real stuff—or a variety of other drinks.

For the diehards who bleed emerald [isle] green, the celebration continues on St. Patrick’s Day with more food, dance and general merriment from noon until midnight. You can bet your shamrock that you’ll go home with your Irish (or Polish or Colombian or Korean) eyes a-smiling … for another year, at least.

If you go

St. Patrick’s Festival

March 17, noon-midnight

$15, free kids 12 and under

The Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, Chicago

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