It's time to get your green on.
St. Patrick's Day is Saturday, and for many, it's a time to honor St. Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, who helped to spread Christianity throughout the country.
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For others, it's an excuse to party with friends, enjoy corned beef and cabbage and down green beer.
From bar crawls to Irish dancers, we've pulled together a list of happenings throughout the city and suburbs this weekend to help you celebrate Irish-American culture in the United States -- in whatever way you decide.
• Naperville St. Patrick's Day Parade
The West Suburban Irish's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday in downtown Naperville. The parade begins at Naperville North High School, 899 N. Mill St., and continues to the Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.
Geneva Community High School student Maureen Levy is the parade queen, and longtime West suburban Irish member Nora Marovich will serve as the parade's grand marshal. Residents are encouraged to donate a nonperishable food item to benefit the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Pantry. Visit wsirish.org for details.
• St. Paddy's Day 5K Naperville
The Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise and the West Suburban Irish are hosting a 5K race, run and walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday prior to the downtown Naperville parade. The race begins and ends at the corner of Jackson and West Streets. Proceeds are used to provide health-related services to those in need. Visit stpaddys day5k.org for details.
• Palatine "Paints the Town Green" celebration and parade
Festivities begin on Saturday with an Irish Market under a tent outside of Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The St. Patrick's Day parade begins at 11 a.m. at Community Park, 200 E. Wood St. Residents are encouraged to bring food, clothing and donations to benefit Journeys from PADS to HOPE, serving the suburban homeless. Irish entertainment begins at 12:30 throughout the downtown area. Visit stpatspalatine.com.
• East Dundee's Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick's Day Parade
Bandito Barney's Beach Club and Rosie O'Hare's Public House in East Dundee host the sixth annual Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick's Day Parade, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. The parade begins north of Rosie O'Hare's on Water Street, traveling south to Barrington Avenue, then east to River Street, ending at Bandito Barney's at 10 N. River St. Visit banditobarneysbeachclub.com.
• Lake Villa St. Patricks's Day Parade
Lake Villa's annual St. Patrick's Day parade kicks off at noon Saturday on Kevin Street. The parade then heads to Walden Street, on to Burnett, to Sherwood, then to Grand and Cedar streets, ending at the Metra train station. The Lake Villa VFW, at Grand and Railroad avenues, hosts its annual corned beef and cabbage dinner immediately following the parade. The cost is $6-$8. A hot dog plate is $4. For information, call village hall at (847) 356-6100.
• Barrington Celtic Fest
The annual festival will take place outdoors on Park Avenue, east of Cook Street, and indoors at McGonigal's Pub at 105 S. Cook St., Barrington, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Events in the heated outdoor tent run 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. both days. The fest features Irish dancers and singers, bands, food and beverages. Admission is free, but small donations are accepted after 6 p.m. to support the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. Visit mcgonigalspub.com for details.
• Emmett's Annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration in West Dundee
On Friday, Irish duo Kingsfold kicks off the weekend celebration with a free show at 9 p.m. at Emmett's Tavern and Brewing Co., 128 W. Main St. in West Dundee. They'll play at the restaurant's Palatine location, Emmett's Ale House, 110 N. Brockway St., at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday's festivities, hosted by Emmett's, kick off at noon at Washington and Second Streets in West Dundee. An adult Big Wheel Rally will be held from noon to 12:45 p.m.; the races start at the corner of Fourth and Washington by Grafelman Park and speed downhill and around the corner onto Second Street, ending at Emmett's. The sidewalk Firkin Parade begins at 1 p.m. downtown after the Big Wheel Rally. There also will be live entertainment. Visit emmettstavern.com/calendar.html for details.
• Chicago Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Dyeing of the Chicago River
The 57th annual downtown event -- one of the country's largest St. Patty's Day parades -- kicks off at noon on Saturday. The parade begins at Columbus Drive and Balbo Avenue and continues north to Monroe Street.
The Chicago River will be dyed green at 10 a.m. The best place to watch is at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Organizers won't reveal what's in the dye -- "it's a closely guarded secret" -- but they do say the formula has been tested safe for the environment. Admission is free. For details, visit chicagostpatsparade.com.
• Irish American Heritage Center's St. Patrick's Festival
The annual large-scale celebration begins at 1 p.m. following the downtown St. Patrick's Day parade at the Irish American Heritage Center. The family-oriented event features Irish music, dance, food and children's activities. Entertainers include the Irish Heritage Singers, Shannon Rovers, the Wiggleworms, Tim O'Shea and Patrick Buckley, the Sullivan Brothers, The O'Hare School of Irish Dance and more. The festival ends at midnight.
On Sunday, the St. Patrick's Afterparty starts at 10:30 a.m. with mass in the Auditorium, followed by an Irish breakfast and live music, step dancing and face painting.
Irish American Heritage Center is at 4626 N. Knox Ave., Chicago. Saturday tickets: $15 for adults; $12 if bought in advance. Sunday tickets: $10 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. Visit irish- american.org for details.
• St. Patty's Party/Pub Crawl
The St. Patty's Crawl Chicago is now in its 15th year and continues its legacy for achieving record-setting attendance. The party starts at Excalibur Nightclub at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, with participants also stopping by the Coach House at Uncle Fatty's Rum Resort and Barn & Company. Buy your tickets before 11 p.m. Friday. For details, visit stpattyscrawlchicago.com.
• Luck of the Irish St. Paddy's Day Pub Crawl Chicago
The Luck of the Irish bar crawl, presented by pubcrawls.com, actually is three separate bar crawls: a Happy Hour St. Paddy's Pub Crawl on Friday, the St. Paddy's Luck of the Irish Pub Crawl on Saturday and the Hangover St. Paddy's Pub Crawl on Sunday. For details, visit pubcrawls.com
• St. Paddy's Day 5K & 8K Run/Walk and Leprechaun Leap 2012
The 11th annual event, a spring favorite among Chicago's running community, begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday at Diversey Harbor in Lincoln Park. New features include a timed 8K run and an Irish-themed area with entertainment and food. There's also a costume contest, a kid's dash (leprechaun leap) and a post-race party at a nearby pub. The event supports Special Olympics. Visit stpaddys dayrunchicago.com for details.
Parties, pubs and more
• Pump It Up's Leap N' Leprechaun Family Jump in Vernon Hills
Pump It Up is hosting a special St. Patrick's Day event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday. Kids will have fun bouncing and sliding on the gigantic inflatables, and they'll receive a special treat when they leave. Price is $10 per child at the door. Receive a $2 discount by wearing green or reserving your ticket online. Parents are free.
Pump It Up is at 500 N. Fairway Drive, Ste. B, Vernon Hills. (847) 680-7867. Visit pumpitupparty.com for details.
• St. Patrick's Day Concert at SPACE in Evanston
Enjoy Irish songs and stories from two suburban performers at Evanston's premier music venue. "Pot of Gold: Irish Stories and Songs from Two of Chicago's Own -- Megon McDonough and Susan O'Halloran" begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Singer McDonough grew up in an Irish-American family from Crystal Lake and is now is the music director of the Unity Church in Des Plaines. Story artist O'Halloran was born to an Irish-American family in Chicago.
SPACE is at 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. General admission tickets are $18-$30. Call (866) 468-3401 or visit evanstonspace.com.
• "Flanagan's Wake" at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights and Fox Valley Repertory in St. Charles
It's a Metropolis tradition you won't want to miss. The hilarious, interactive comedy -- going on its 18th year -- brings together friends and family of the dearly departed Flanagan, telling tales and singing to mourn the loss of their favorite drinking buddy. Shows are at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Tickets are $35. Visit metropolisarts.com for details.
FVR also stages "Flanagan's Wake" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. $32. (630) 584-6342 or foxvalleyrep.org.
• Peggy Kinnane's Irish Restaurant and Pub in Arlington Heights
The pub will feature Irish bagpipers, face painting, giveaways, a special St. Pat's menu and March Madness games on Saturday. The restaurant is open for dinner but won't accept reservations that day.
Peggy Kinnane's is at 8 N. Vail Ave., Arlington Heights. Open Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Visit peggy kinnanes.com for details.
• Quigley's Irish Pub in Naperville
On Friday, the Katie Sullivan Band takes the stage at 9 p.m. From noon till 4 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, New Element Band will perform Irish music with a contemporary feel. On Sunday, from 7 p.m. to midnight, Celtic Sounds will perform time-honored Irish music. Quigley's also has special 2012 St. Patrick's Day T-shirts available while supplies last.
Quigley's Irish Pub is at 43 E. Jefferson St., Naperville. Visit quigleysirishpub.com for details.
• Mickey Finn's Brewery in Libertyville
Look forward to a music-filled St. Patty's Day weekend combined with community service. Performers include Davey Arwine Irish Acoustic, Trinity Irish Dancers, Fonn Mor and many more. The restaurant is planning a special Irish menu and is ready with 2,000 pounds of corned beef -- just for Saturday.
On Friday, the restaurant is hosting the fourth annual Misericordia St. Paddy's Day Fundraiser. Enjoy an Irish dinner and live music from Finnbar Finnegan and Irish Dancers to benefit the developmentally disabled. Tickets are $25 at the door. On Saturday, it will host a St. Baldrick's fundraiser for children with cancer.
"Because people are drawn here for St. Patty's Day, we use that as a springboard to give back to the community," owner Brian Grano said.
Mickey Finn's Brewery is at 412 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. Visit mickeyfinns brewery.com for details.
• Durty Nellie's in Palatine
The bar, which is helping to headline Palatine's "Paint the Town Green" celebration, will feature live music all day on Saturday. Performers include The Great Whiskey Project, Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band, Screw City Saints, Irish Dancers, Fonn Mor, Red Rebel County and more. On Sunday, the restaurant will host a benefit concert for St. Baldrick's Foundation to help kids with cancer. The all-ages show begins at 3:30 p.m. and costs $5.
Durty Nellie's West Irish Pub is at 180 N. Smith St., Palatine. Visit durtynellies.com for details.
• Finn McCool's Schaumburg
Get your leprechaun-on! Chicagoland's largest St. Patrick's weekend under the tent kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday with performers One Sweet Jane and Sugar High, and a late night DJ and dancing. Saturday festivities begin at 11 a.m. and feature a corned beef eating contest, a Ms. Jameson contest, bagpipers and performers Infinity and C-Factor.
Finn McCool's is at 1941 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg. Visit finnmccools chicago.com.
• Irish Mill Inn in Mundelein
The Inn's 2012 St. Pat's Bash starts on Friday with Uncle Zesty's playing old time Scotch-Irish bluegrass/mountain music. Saturday features a menu of Shepherd's Pie, meat pies, Irish egg rolls, Irish soda bread and corned beef. There will be music all day; performers include Whitey O'Day, Trillian, Macyn Taylor and Paddy Teglia and J.D. Smith.
Irish Mill Inn is at 26592 N. Rt. 83, Mundelein. Visit irish millinn.com for details.
• McNally's Traditional Irish Pub in St. Charles
Festivities have been ongoing throughout the week. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, The O'Briens will perform. Sunday is the St. Patrick's Day Survivor Party with Dat Band.
McNally's Traditional Irish Pub is at 109 W. Main St., St. Charles. Visit mcnallysirish pub.com for details.
• Ballydoyle Irish Pub and Restaurant in Aurora
Kegs and eggs start at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The holiday lineup includes Irish dancers, performers John O'Arthur, Fionnghlas, bagpipers, and Flatfoot 56. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, the restaurant is hosting a fundraiser for St Baldrick's.
Ballydoyle Irish Pub and Restaurant is at 28 W. New York St., Aurora. Other locations are in Downers Grove and Bloomingdale. Visit bally doylepub.com for details.