St. Patrick's Day will be over by the time the weekend rolls around, but the Irish- and Celtic-themed fun in the Northwest suburbs will just be getting started.
Descendants of the Emerald Isle, lovers of kilts, or people who just love to have a good time can dress up in green, enjoy some Celtic-influenced music and dance, and knock back a pint of Guinness at events in Barrington, Hoffman Estates and Palatine over the weekend.
Paint the Town Green
Palatine's 6th annual Paint the town Green festival in the village's downtown Saturday will feature an Irish Market, entertainment throughout the day and food and beverages from local restaurants.
"We've planned a family-friendly day of activities to celebrate St. Patrick's Day," said event coordinator Liz Noe. "This is going to be a great day to be Irish or pretend to be Irish."
The Irish Market opens at 9 a.m. in the front parking lot of Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St., next to the Palatine train station.
Perhaps the highlight of the one-day event is the parade, which this year will include 50 entries, among them the Midlothian Scottish Bag Pipe Band, the Trinity Irish Dancers and numerous Irish-themed floats.
Grand marshals Lucky McClover and Katie M'Lady will lead the march, along with honorary Grand Marshal Marilyn Pedersen. Pedersen has been involved with the Palatine Historical Society for more than 40 years and is an integral part of Palatine 150, this year's celebration of the village's 150th birthday.
The parade steps off at 11 a.m. at the corner of Wood and Oak streets, then travels west on Wood to Smith Street, where it turns north before ending at Colfax Street.
During the parade, as well as at the Irish Market, there will be collections of food, clothing and paper products for Journeys the Road Home, an organization serving homeless and near homeless residents of the Northwest and North suburbs.
There will be a variety of music and entertainment throughout the day at the Irish Market and at participating businesses, including Durty Nellie's, Emmett's Ale House and Tap House Grill.
A full schedule of events is available at www.stpatspalatine.com.
Northwest Celtic Fest
The 5th annual Northwest Celtic Fest will bring a celebration of Celtic heritage to the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The free one-day event will feature live music and entertainment, Celtic cuisine and marketplace, free games for kids and scotch and beer tasting.
"The fest activities will appeal to a wide range of people," Hoffman Estates Mayor William D. McLeod said. "Even residents who are not Celtic will enjoy the food, music, games and marketplace."
Among the entertainers scheduled to perform are The Academy of Irish Music, Baal Tinne, Dust Bunnies, Mulligan Stew, Hope Rose, Rebecca McCarthy School of Irish Dance, Thistle and Heather Irish Dance, Trinity Academy of Irish Dance and the Chicago Scots Pipe Band.
The fest also will include herding demonstrations, rugby demonstrations and meet-and-greets with birds or prey and Irish wolfhounds.
The Sears Centre is at 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway. For a complete schedule, visit www.hoffmanestates.org/celtic or call (847) 781-2606.
Barrington Celtic Fest
Barrington gets a head start on its neighbors' St. Patrick's celebrations when it kicks off the 6th annual Barrington Celtic Fest on Thursday in the 200 block of Park Avenue and at McGonigal's Pub, in the village's downtown.
The festival, which runs through Saturday, features a huge heated tent erected over the block of Park Avenue. The tent opens at 11 a.m. all three days and admission is free. However, patrons are encouraged to donate to the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, which will have a booth in the tent.
The fest includes an impressive lineup of entertainment, featuring live music (Irish and rock), six separate Irish Dancer performances, a mix of Irish and local retail restaurants and merchants, bagpipers, live DJ's, and plentiful food and beverages, both in the festival tent and McGonigal's Pub, 105 S. Cook St.
Schedules and band lineups can be found at www.barringtonpub.com.
Limited seating for dining is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the pub's second level and the neighboring The Annex. Pub menus will be limited from the normal offerings, though there will be plenty of additional food options in the tent, including cuisine from Clarke's Bakery & Deli, Big Iron Horse BBQ and McGonigal's. All food and beverages transactions in the tent will be cash only; credit cards can be used for service within the pub.