By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
St. Patrick’s Day (Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is coming up March 17! The day, a national holiday in Ireland, is celebrated unofficially in the United States as well with parades and other big community celebrations, including some close to us in Alexandria, Manassas, and Washington, DC. While you may be spending the day celebrating a meal with corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and maybe even some green drinks, the day actually began as — and still is — a cultural and religious holiday, and its history is interesting. Did you know that the real story of Saint Patrick is an inspiring tale of hardship, survival, and faith?
If you want to celebrate at home with the kids, be sure to see our Fairfax Family Fun St. Patrick’s Day Pinterest board for easy, cute, fun, and festive recipes, crafts, activities, and decoration ideas. If you want to celebrate outside the home, here are some local family friendly St. Patrick’s Day events in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC:
Friday, March 17, 2017: Smithsonian Irish Celebration
Smithsonian Discovery Theatre for children hosts All Ireland!, a “floor-stomping” show geared to kids ages 5-10. Show times are 10:15 am and 11:30 am at the Ripley Center; tickets are $5-$8.
Friday, March 17, 2017: St. Patrick’s Day at Monkey Joe’s
Jump for joy on St. Patrick’s Day at Monkey Joe’s Dulles! Have some fun with $5 admission all day, and the chance to win a FREE party package if you find the lucky coin! Wear a green shirt or socks and get in the shamrock spirit.
Friday, March 17, 2017: Jimmy’s Party in Herndon
Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern in Herndon hosts the 20th annual St. Patrick’s Celebration, a daylong event featuring Irish food specials, prizes, and a performance by the “Irish Elvis.”
Friday, March 17, 2017: Wear Green Campfire
Meet at Cabell’s Mill wearing your best green at 6:30 pm this Saint Patrick’s Day and help find all things wearing green in the meadow, then end the evening with a campfire marshmallow roast. For ages 2 and up; $8 per person
Friday, March 17, 2017: Danú: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Celtic music and dance at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax. Danú: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, is a high-energy show with authentic Irish instruments – flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, and bouzouki. Tickets for the 8 pm show start at $30.
Friday, March 17, 2017: Green Donuts at Krispy Kreme
Not really an “event,” but an annual tradition is the re-appearance of the green donuts at Krispy Kreme at participating locations (some to check with locally are the shops in Alexandria and Manassas).
Saturday, March 18, 2017: Green is Great park event
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by learning about plants and animals that are green. Go on a green treasure hunt, paint with shades of green and meet Olive, a green turtle, at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Children must be accompanied by an adult; $6 per person.
Saturday, March 4, 2017: Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The City of Alexandria, VA, hosts a daylong event that kicks off with a classic car show from 9 am to 11:45 am and a fun dog show 10:30 am to noon. There’s a pre-parade at 12:15 with the winners of the Fun Dog Show, and the parade units step off at 12:30 pm, beginning with the military units.
Saturday, March 11, 2017: Manassas Parade
The annual Greater Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 11 am the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. This event first took place in 2000 and is a highly anticipated community event each year! You can see a map of the parade route online.
Sunday, March 12, 2017: Washington, DC, St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The 46th annual Washington DC St. Patrick’s Parade takes place at noon on March 12 along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets., featuring dozens of participants including marching bands. You can get to the parade from three Metro stations; for details or parking information see the event website.
Find more weekend fun on our website Calendar of Events! Do you have other events to add? How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family? Share with other readers by leaving a comment below!