St. Patrick's Day 2012 | Chicago events and things to do

Good ol’ Saint Paddy’s Day. That magical time of the year when the term “Chi-rish” transforms from terrible to tolerable, and we forget the rainbow has six other colors. Celebrate by donning the green and coming together with your fellow Chicagoans as we all unite to become the same thing—drunk…ahem, Irish. Well, whichever.

4th Annual St. Practice Day Pub Crawl
Practice (read: tolerance building) does in fact make perfect in what could be the beginning of your record-breaking two-week-long bender. The crawl is free to attend and offers discounted Jameson Irish whiskey at each stop. Timothy O'Toole's Pub, 622 N Fairbanks Ct (312-642-0700). Mar 3 at 7:30pm; free.

Forever Green
The Young Irish Fellowship Club’s 37th annual event seeks to raise money to benefit the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and Dignity Diner by celebrating Irish culture. Irish bands Larkin and Moran Brothers, Spoken Four and the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band are joined by the Trinity Irish Dancers for a night of drinking and dancing. Park West, 322 W Armitage Ave ( Mar 9 at 6:30pm; $55, advanced $50, VIP $70.

Southside Irish Parade Bus Trip
The welcome back party begins for the South Side Irish Parade at a $5 breakfast buffet complete with mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. At 9:30am the party bus will truck North Siders to the South Side Hinky Dink’s Pub (3242 W 111th St; 773-445-1598) for green beer and Irish Car Bomb specials. Lottie’s Pub, 1925 W Cortland St (773-489-0738). Mar 11 at 8am; $20.

South Side Irish Parade
After a two-year sabbatical, the South Side Irish Parade is back, promising beefed up security and a return to its family friendly roots. While Rahm has given the thumbs up for its return, others, including Alderman Matt O’Shea, have criticized the new security measures as “sorely lacking,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Hopefully, parade-goers can play nice without breaking too many laws, or Chicago will have to return to being a one-parade town. 10400 Western Ave (773-916-7747, Mar 11 at 11am; free.

Dyeing the Chicago River
In order to match that tall glass of Green Beer you’re imbibing, this privately-funded tradition transforms the Chicago River into a shimmering kelly green. Using a secret eco-friendly formula, the local Plumbers Union make over the river to the chagrin of blue lovers everywhere. Primo spectator spots are located at the intersection of Michigan Ave, Wacker Dr and the river. 399 N Columbus Dr (312-942-9188, Mar 17 at 10am; free.

St. Patty’s Crawl Chicago
This crawl is back for its 15th year and its biggest party yet. Originally hosted in friends’ apartments, this pub crawl has become the elder statesman of St. Patrick’s day drinking. Excalibur, 632 N Dearborn St (312-266-1944, Mar 17 at 9:30am; $45 wristband includes open bar.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
As luck would have it, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will actually be celebrated on the titular holiday and not the Saturday preceding it. The 57th occurrence of this Chi-town tradition can be seen as a heralding of spring, as we say “buh-bye” to cold weather and hello to less cold weather. The parade offers a chance to celebrate yours and others inner-Irish—whether you’re full-blooded or as Irish as a box of Lucky Charms. 300 E Balbo Dr (312-421-1010, Mar 17 at noon; free.

St. Patrick’s Festival
The Irish American Heritage Center celebrates traditional and contemporary Irish culture with this post-parade fest. Irish musicians Tim O’ Shea and Patrick Buckley join Chicago Irish acts for music, dance, food and even children’s activities at this family friendly event. Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N Knox Ave (773-282-7035, Mar 17 at 1pm; $15, advance $12, children under 13 free.

St. Patrick’s Afterparty
The Irish American Heritage Center keeps the party going with more music and dancing but adds a breakfast buffet at Harrington’s Deli and face painting to round out the festivities. Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N Knox Ave (773-282-7035). Mar 18 at 10:30am; $10, children $5, tickets must be purchased before Wed 14.

Shamrock Shuffle
Put away that Shamrock Shake and cut down that green-beer belly by participating in this year’s Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Around 40,000 racers kick off the racing season by trying to forget all that corned beef and cabbage ever happened. Grant Park, intersection of Columbus Dr and Monroe St (312-904-9814, Mar 25 at 8:30am; $45.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)