St. Patrick's Day celebrations have already begun at many local venues, with Irish music, dancing, food and, of course, beer.
No one has to wait for the official holiday on Tuesday -- put on something green and head out for a bit o' St. Patrick's Day fun.
McGonigal's Celtic fest
Celebrate the Barrington Celtic Festival at McGonigal's Irish Pub and The Annex Sunday. The fest includes Irish goods for sale, Irish dancers, bagpipers, giveaways, food and beverages. Family Day on Sunday, March 15, includes the McNulty Irish Dancers and the Flannery Irish School of Dance; Cirrus Falcon plays on Monday, March 16; The Messengers play on Tuesday, March 17.
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday and Monday, March 15-16, and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, at McGonigal's Irish Pub and The Annex, 105 S. Cook St., Barrington. Free. (847) 277-7400 or mcgonigalspub.com.
Ballydoyle's Family Day
Ballydoyle Irish Pub in Downers Grove hosts all ages for St. Patrick's Family Day. Highlights include performances by the McNulty Irish Dancers, arts and crafts, face painting, live entertainment and Irish fare.
Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at Ballydoyle Irish Pub, 5157 Main St., Downers Grove. Free. (630) 969-0600 or ballydoylepub.com.
Shamrock the Block
Wauconda's third annual Shamrock the Block St. Patrick's Day charity festival features 16-, 20- and 26-mile bike rides through the hills of Wauconda, live concerts and Irish fare at local restaurants and a 50/50 raffle, with a grand prize of a trip for two to Ireland. Proceeds from a head-shaving charity event will benefit children's cancer research.
Events run Sunday through Tuesday, March 15-17, in downtown Wauconda. Hours vary. For full daily schedule, visit shamrocktheblock.webs.com.
See a preview performance of the new romantic comedy "Outside Mullingar" at the Northlight Theatre in Skokie. The production, written by John Patrick Shanley, the Pulitzer Prize-, Tony Award- and Academy Award-winning author of "Doubt" and "Moonstruck," opens Friday, March 20, and runs through April 19. The production looks at the love story of Rosemary and Anthony, two eccentric introverts who live on neighboring farms.
Previews run through Thursday, March 19, at the Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. $25-$54. Showtimes vary. (847) 673-6300 or northlight.org.
Irish American Heritage Center
Start off the official St. Patrick's Day holiday with an 11 a.m. mass in the auditorium of Chicago's Irish American Heritage Center. Mass is followed by an all-day celebration in the center's Fifth Province pub. Performers include The Tooles, the O'Hare School of Irish Dance, The Chancey Brothers and many others.
Events begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., Chicago. Admission is $10. (773) 282-7035 or irish- american.org.
St. Patrick's Day isn't just a day at Finn McCool's Irish Pub; it's a full-blown festival. Get the party started at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, with music, bag pipers and green beer under the heated tent. The musical lineup includes Libido Funk Circus.
Opens at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at Finn McCool's Irish Pub, 1941 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg. (847) 303-5100 or finnmccoolschicago.com.
See more than 300 decorative and cultural objects from 18th-century Ireland at the "Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design" exhibit, opening on St. Patrick's Day at the Art Institute of Chicago. See metalworks, instruments, paintings, furniture and more.
Runs Tuesday, March 17, through Sunday, June 7, at the Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. General admission is $17-$23. Free for ages 14 and younger. (312) 443-3600 or artic.edu.