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 the day is now known as a festive one with parties (corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and green drinks, anyone?), it 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 out, here are some local family friendly St. Patrick’s Day events:
Thursday, March 17, 2016: Shamrockin’ Egg Hunt at nZone
It’s two great holidays combined! With St. Patrick’s Day and Easter so close this year, the nZone fitness and sports facility is having a green-themed Egg Hunt for children up to six years old. Enjoy some St. Patrick’s Day fun, and snacks and plus free face painting, music by Bach2Rock, a moonbounce, and an egg hunt. Find the special golden eggs and win a prize. Hunts will be broken down by age group; the fee is $5 per child. Dress in green for more fun!
Thursday, March 17, 2016: Smithsonian Irish Celebration
Smithsonian Discovery Theatre for children hosts Flying Feet & Fiddle Bows: An Irish Celebration at 10:15 am and 11:30 am at the Ripley Center.Shannon Dunne and jolly Pete Moss and the talented young musicians of the Bog Band throw an authentic Irish ceili party. Kids (this event is recommended for ages 5-8) will learn about Irish musical traditions and experience the floor-pounding beat of both sean-nós and set dancing; $6 for kids, $8 for adults.
Thursday, March 17, 2016: 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 Lucky Joe, enjoy $5 admission all day, and enter to win a Crazy 8 weekday (Monday-Thursday) party package.
Thursday, March 17, 2016: Jimmy’s Party in Herndon
Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern in Herndon hosts the 19th annual St. Patrick’s Celebration, a daylong event (starting at 11 am) featuring Irish food specials, prizes, and a performance by the Irish Elvis at 5:30 pm.
Thursday, March 17, 2016: Irish Music an Dancing at The Auld Sheen
The Auld Shebeen in Old Town Fairfax celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with live entertainment (music and Irish dancing) throughout the day, starting at 10 am, plus food specials. Lunch and dinner reservations recommended; $5 cover charge after 4 pm.
Thursday, March 17, 2016: Irish Music an Dancing at O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub
O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub provides St. Patrick’s Day fun with food specials and traditional Irish dancers from the Boyle School of Irish Dance at noon at the Arlington location and at 2 pm and 7 pm in Herndon.
Thursday, March 17, 2016: March Madness Charity Fundraiser at Glory Days Grill
Grab some dinner and do some good: the Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) host a fundraiser for the Camp Virginia Jaycees (a camp for kids and adults with developmental and other disabilities) on March 17, 7-10 pm, at the Glory Days in Reston’s Fox Mill Shopping Center. The group is selling a total of 300 tickets ($20 each) for three Yeti coolers – two are YETI Tundra style and one is the YETI Hopper style, which is a soft-sided cooler. These are highly rated coolers, great for upcoming summer events! You can also purchase tickets on the camp website see the icon at the top right marked “Purchase raffle tickets here”.
Thursday, March 17, 2016: Green Donuts at Krispy Kreme
This may not really be an “event,” but since there is only one Krispy Kreme in Fairfax County, for some people, getting there IS almost an event! While the stores all will have some specially decorated donuts for St. Patrick’s Day, if you need an excuse to get you hot-donut fix at KK, some locations also will have some green-glazed donuts rolling off the conveyor belt! The Alexandria location on Richmond highway will be “green on 3/17” making the treats you see belo.
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!
Saturday, March 5: Alexandria 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 12, 2016: 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.
Saturday, March 12, 2016: St. Paddy’s Day Peas and Potatoes
St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional day to plant potatoes. At this Fairfax County Park Authority event at Green Spring Gardens, you will learn the origins of this staple and its importance to Ireland. Listen to tales of leprechauns, sample spuds, and plant peas and potatoes in the garden; $6 per person.
Sunday, March 13, 2016: DC Parade
The 44th annual Washington DC St. Patrick’s Parade takes place at noon on March 13 along Constitution Avenue, 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.