Like you need an excuse to party: Sunday is St. Patrick's Day.
For most of us (yes, some poor souls have to work that day), that means the day off and plenty of places to deck out in your green garb and scarf up Irish food and hoist a few — anything but green beer!
Here's your ultimate local guide to St. Paddy's events.
Shamrock Pub's 5th annual St. Patrick's Day Block Party — Doors open at noon, with live music starting at 2 p.m. Sunday. Enjoy Irish, domestic and fine craft beers, live music, Irish dancers, bag pipers, Top O’ the Limerick Contest finalists, traditional Irish and party food by Libby’s Café, live art installations, night-time projections, and more. A special firkin of cask-conditioned ale by Swamp Head Brewery of Gainesville will be served. Music lineup includes Waking Giants, Cats in the Basement and Sons of Hippies. Free. Benefits the Sarasota Family YMCA Youth Shelter. shamrocksarasota.com.
Downtown Bradenton — The Old Main Street Merchants Association is hosting a St. Patrick's Day celebration. Old Main Street will be closed to traffic from 11 a.m. to midnight. Big Daddy is scheduled to perform. There also is a 5K run/walk with proceeds benefiting the Women’s Resource Center and Foundation for Dreams.
Lynches Pub & Grub — The St. Armands Circle venue is partying for four straight days. Friday and Saturday nights, from 5 p.m. to closing, their "Warm Up Party" will include Irish stepdancers, bagpipers, green beer, corned beef and cabbage. The big day Sunday will have more of the same, but also with the Jacobites, free hats and beads. Then there's Monday's "Hangover Party," with Bloody Marys will start flowing at noon. 19B N. Boulevard of Presidents. 388-5550; lynchespub.com.
Crow's Nest 3th annual Limerick Contest — Venice's first and foremost limerick contest starts at 8 p.m. The winner snares a $100 Crow's Nest gift certificate; 2nd-5th place get $25 gift certificiates. 1968 Tarpon Center Drive. 484-9551; crowsnest-venice.com.
Beach Bistro's 14th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade — The parade starts at 4 p.m. at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive, and ends at North Palm Drive and 78th Street. Meanwhile, the Anna Maria Community Center is hosting a Sham Rockin' Festival next to City Hall at 11 a.m., with food and crafts booths. 778-6444; BeachBistro.com.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration — It’s a day of music and all-things-Irish on Sunday at Twin Lakes Park, east of Interstate 75 off Clark Road. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entertainment lineup: The Paul Duffy Band, DC Irish Allstarz, the Drake Irish Dancers, the Drum Studio All-stars, SRQ Academy of Irish Dance and Jazz Juvenocracy. Plus Irish beer and food. $7. Kids 12 and under free. Free parking. Irishroversarasota.com.
Ace's' St. Patrick's Day Celebration — It's an all-day affair at Ace's, from noon to closing. Live music from Gumbo Boogie, Tangled Mangos and Wikked Jester. Traditional Irish food will be prepared by Irish chef Ron Lynch. Proceeds from a 50/50 drawing and silent auction will benefit Manatee Children's Services. 4343 Palma Sola Blvd. 795-3886; aceslivemusic.com.
2nd annual Irish Celtic Festival — A day earlier (Saturday, March 16), from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Central Park at Lakewood Ranch, Neal Communities’ newest neighborhood in the Ranch, will be the site of this family-friendly event. It's on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, just north of Lakewood Ranch High School, 12150 Forest Park Circle. Entertainment includes Celtic Misfit Band, Andy Burr & Friends, Highland Dancers & Bagpipers from Riverview High School and Irish Dancers from the Drake School, and New World Celtic Dance Team. The day kicks off at 11 a.m. with a “Lucky Dog Parade.” Prizes will go to the cutest, most Irish, and dog-owner look alike. (Registration for the dog parade is $5 in advance and $10 the day of the event, which benefits The Humane Society of Lakewood Ranch. Children activities include spud-tater heads, Pot O’ Gold scavenger hunt, face painting, pony rides, balloon artists and the splash park. There will be food for sale—including traditional Irish fare and some non-traditional favorites, as well as cupcakes, desserts and of course beer, wine, and Irish coffee. lwrcac.com/events/irish-celtic-festival.