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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick's Day Parade
Photo Credit: Michelle Lee

St. Patrick’s Day happens this coming Sunday, March 17! For some, the day conjures up images of four-leafed clovers and leprechauns. For others, it’s the music and dancing that spring to mind with a sprightly Celtic tune. I’m mainly acquainted with the traditions involving pints of green beer, quaffed in the company of good friends in a solid Irish pub after watching a big parade — and I expect plenty of visitors to Surrey and the Vancouver area will want to take in some fun times to be had. Just remember, wherever you go that day: wear green!

Celtic Fest

Western Canada’s biggest annual Celtic festival shows off the music, dance, crafts and cultural gifts of Ireland, along with a parade in downtown Vancouver that thousands take part in. The Celtic Village is right in the heart of downtown’s entertainment district, between Robson and Nelson. Fun times ahead! Don’t worry if Vancouver’s weather doesn’t cooperate — a little rain just lends to the authenticity of the event, remembering the mists of the emerald isle. Be sure to take in Canadian and international acts like Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac from Cape BretonMaeve Mackinnon from ScotlandThe Town Pants and more. >> Learn more

Surrey Museum Celtic Fest

Experience all things Celtic at the Surrey Museum on March 16th from 1-4pm! Be entertained by captivating Celtic music and dancing, learn about Celtic history through local community groups, and get creative with Celtic crafts. Admission by donation. >> Learn more

St. Paddy’s Day Skate

Skating might not be a big thing in Ireland, but hey, we’re Canadian. Put a True North spin on the day and head to the George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley from 1-3pm on March 17th. See if you can find some green laces for your skates. >> Learn more

Now, Where’s this Green Beer I’ve Heard So Much About?

Photo Credit: Kengo

If you’re looking to partake in a traditional sudsy beverage, here are some ideas for where to saddle up to the bar:

Big Ridge Brewing Company

Surrey’s original brew pub is celebrating the big day by opening a cask of Jameson Irish Whiskey Imperial Stout. The cask gets tapped at 4pm on Saturday, March 16th (just as the clock sticks 12:00 is Ireland) so you might want to get there early. >> Learn more

Central City Brewers

OK, they’re not a traditional Irish pub, but they’ll still be serving up some timely Irish cheer. They’ll be playing host to a weekend of music, Irish-themed drink specials, as well as some good old-fashioned meals of a “Fry-up” Breakfast, Irish Stout Stew and a dinner option of lamb chops and veggies. Celebrate properly, right in the heart of Surrey. >> Learn more

Dublin Crossing Irish Pub

Offering live music all-day including Irish bagpipers and dancers, they’ll provide a festive turn for the crowd. What’s this place like? According to local blogger My Urban Suburban, this place has a lot to recommend any time of the year:

This classic Irish watering hole buzzes with excitement and on any typical evening is packed by 6pm.  It’s warm and cozy and every inch is decorated in classic Irish theme.  Featuring live acts every night, this is the place to be if you’re looking for a good time.  No doubt, their selection of beer is unparalelled and for the more robust drinkers in the crowd, they serve a stellar variety of Irish whiskies and scotches. The menu serves up healthy portions of traditional fare, includind Bangers and Mashed, Sheperd’s Pie, Irish Stew and Meatloaf and among the typical pub food, you will also find some leprechaun-inspired dishes…

If you’re looking to celebrate a little further into Vancouver, downtown has some very authentic and entertaining Irish-themed pubs: right in the heart of downtown, Ceili’s Irish Pub and Doolin’s both have a great range of craft beers to try, along with some very fine pub grub; the Blarney Stone in Gastown is a real party spot that throws a big St. Patty’s day bash; the Irish Heather is also in Gastown and its long tables make for some fine sit-down celebrations of good food and great whiskeys. Lots of options, but then, you don’t have to just pick one…

Wherever you end up, enjoy fun times with friends and colleagues and celebrate responsibly.

Where and how are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?