Go green! Spirited St. Patrick's Day events in the suburbs, Chicago
Please note: Because of coronavirus concerns, call or check Facebook or the event website before you go to verify the event is still on.
Irish roots run deep in Chicago and the suburbs, meaning St. Patrick's Day is a cause for big celebrations. Luckily you don't need to be Irish to join in the fun, which includes live music, dance performances, parades, fireworks, and plenty of traditional food and drinks. Just wear something green to get in the spirit and head to one of these nine events.
Barrington Celtic Fest
The 11th annual bash at McGonigal's Pub, 105 S. Cook St., Barrington, runs from March 13-17 and features live music, performances by Irish dancers, a boutique selling Irish goods and giveaways. The bar serves a limited menu of Irish food and drinks plus food for kids on Saturday, March 14, and Tuesday, March 17. Free. (847) 277-7400 or mcgonigalspub.com.
McHenry Shamrocks the Fox
There's a weekend of Irish-themed fun planned in McHenry Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15. It kicks off with the McHenry Shamrock Shuffle 5K at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 14, at McHenry High School -- East Campus, 1012 N. Green St. The 400-meter kids dash starts at 7:45 a.m. Registration is $35 for the 5K and $10 for the kids dash until Thursday, March 12. Blarney Island dyes the Fox River green at 9 a.m. And the parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday with the route heading west on Waukegan, north on Green Street to Pearl, east on Pearl to Veterans Park and concluding at Riverside Drive.
From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 14, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 15, Miller Point, 1202 Riverside Drive, will host a beer tent, food trucks, kids' activities and more. Music headliners include 7th heaven at 6 p.m. and Serendipity at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Modern Day Romeos at 5 p.m. Sunday. Festivities conclude with a fireworks show at 7 p.m. Sunday on Miller Point. See visitmchenrycounty.com/shamrocksthefox.
Palatine Paints the Town Green returns Saturday, March 14, with a parade and more.
- Courtesy of Palatine Paints the Town Green
Palatine Paints the Town Green
If you want to start celebrating early, Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St., Palatine, will be serving a traditional Irish breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 14, and Emmett's Ale House, 110 N. Brockway St., Palatine, will host a Kegs N Eggs breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. The 10th annual Palatine Paints the Town Green celebration officially kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at Wood and Oak streets with a parade featuring themed floats and music from the Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band. The parade runs west on Wood Street to Smith Street and then north to Colfax Street. Along the parade route, volunteers will be collecting donations of food, clothing and disposable paper products for Journeys the Road Home homeless shelter. Donations also can be brought to the main fest tent outside Durty Nellie's, which will host an Irish market featuring 11 vendors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., performances and dance lessons from The Trinity Irish Dancers, bagpipers, the start of the photo scavenger hunt and live music throughout the day and ending with Wedding Banned in kilts at 10:30 p.m. and J Frost 5 at 12:45 a.m. stpatspalatine.com/.
Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick's Day Parade
The parade in East Dundee kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 14, though you can come to the East Dundee Depot with your festively dressed pooch at 9:30 a.m. for a pet parade and a contest that will award the top three costumed dogs the chance to join the main procession. You can also join the Kilted 5K Race and Fun Walk at 8 a.m., which starts at Lifeline Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, 296 Williams Place. Race entry is $40 until Tuesday, March 10, and $45 after that. The first 300 entrants will receive a kilt, breakfast buffet and a beer in a commemorative glass. The top finishers and best costumes will receive awards. The festivities continue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, with a fireworks display over the Fox River. dundeestpats.com.
WestSuburban Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade and St. Paddy's Day 5K
Prepare for a day of green beer and hearty food by first running in the Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise's St. Paddy's Day 5K 2020 along the parade route at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 14. The race will award cash prizes, but you can also just run for fun or walk. An after-party for all participants features food and beer. Registration is $40; $25 for kids younger than 15. For details, see stpaddysday5k.org. The annual parade through downtown Naperville kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 14. See wsirish.org for info.
Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade and River Dyeing
The Chicago River turns bright green starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 14, and you can get the best views of the annual tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green from Upper Wacker Drive between Columbus Drive and Wabash Avenue. The 65th annual parade starts at noon at Balbo and Columbus drives, proceeding north on Columbus to Monroe Street. chicagostpatricksdayparade.org.
St. Patrick's Day Clover Cruise
See the bright green Chicago River up close during a two-hour cruise Saturday, March 14, that includes a dockside bagpiper performance, a corned beef sandwich, two Irish-themed cocktails or beers, and a photo station with themed props. Cruises, which are 21 and older only, leave from Chicago's First Lady on the Chicago Riverwalk, 112 E. Wacker Drive, at 9, 9:30 a.m., noon and 12:30 p.m. Boarding is 15 minutes before cruise time. $95. cruisechicago.com/tours/st.-patricks-day-clover-cruise.
St. Charles St. Patrick's Parade
Though the St. Patrick's Parade in downtown St. Charles doesn't start until 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, head down early to see a free Irish dance performance at 10 a.m. at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St. Following the performance and dance lesson will be a free screening of Disney's "The Luck of the Irish" at 10:30 a.m. The parade that follows heads down Main Street at 6th Street and ends at 4th Avenue. For more St. Patrick's Day events happening over the weekend in St. Charles, see stcstpatricksparade.com/.
Kevin Kruzkeberg showed off his green threads during last year's Lake Villa St. Patrick's Day Parade.
- Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2019
Lake Villa St. Patrick's Day Parade & Luncheon
The annual St. Patrick's Day parade kicks off at noon Saturday, March 14, from Palombi Middle School, 133 McKinley Ave. Donations for the Lake Villa Township Food Pantry will be accepted along the parade route and at the Lake Villa VFW, 130 Grand Ave., after the parade. The celebration continues through 2:30 p.m. with a corned beef and cabbage lunch at the VFW. The parade is free; lunch is $9, $7 for seniors and kids younger than 12, or $4 if you just want a hot dog and chips. lake-villa.org.