There are few things Texans love touting more than the Lone Star State's mythic proportions. In the 1990s, tourism commercials went so far as to proudly profess, "Texas: It's like a whole other country." So it stands to reason that a land of such grand geographic girth and hearty self-image would enjoy claiming enclaves of actual other countries contained within its expansive borders. That's what you'll find on St. Patrick's Day in D-FW. Celebrate Ireland, its descendants and its indelible impact on the state's culture at happy-go-lucky events around North Texas.
St. Patrick's Day in Dallas
Big D does St. Patrick's Day in a big way with festivities in the Upper and Lower Greenville neighborhoods that draw more than 125,000 attendees to the city's northeastern quadrant each year. The party's 40th annual celebration includes four main components on March 16:
Dallas St. Patrick's Parade and Festival
The largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the Southwest, this mirthful march features more than 90 elaborate floats and participants decked out in green and gold finery. The route begins on Blackwell Street at 11 a.m. and proceeds down Greenville Avenue to SMU Boulevard, where it takes a right turn and ends near North Central Expressway. The spectacle is free and usually includes bagpipes, marching bands and dancers — and at least once there was a marriage proposal on a float. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be attractions along the route, including Mavs Corner with food trucks and other vendors, a Brew Fest in the Office Depot parking lot and the Comerica Bank Family Zone. Free. dallasstpatricksparade.com.
Lower Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Block Party
Revelers 21 and older can make their way into a roped-off area between Vanderbilt Avenue and Vickery Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for three outdoor stages and pop-up beer bars. Nearby restaurants and bars such as Stan's Blue Note, the Grape, Terilli's, Dodie's, Blue Goose Cantina, Halcyon, Slater's 50/50 and the Dubliner will also offer food and drink specials. Pro tip: Don't dare drive if you're drinking — or, really, at all, as most nearby streets will be inaccessible to automobile traffic. Instead consider taking the free shuttles, which run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. between the block party and DART's Mockingbird Station and the northeast corner of Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue. $15 cash cover to enter roped-off area. Food and drink prices vary. No backpacks, large purses, containers or coolers allowed. lowergreenvilleblockparty.com.
40th Anniversary Concert
Tribute bands will look back at yesteryear with popular hits from the past four decades. Poo Live Crew, Just Like Pink, the M80s and more will play songs made famous by Prince, Britney Spears, Queen and others during a live show at the end of the rainbow — or, well, under the Matilda Bridge, which is where the parade route ends. If you've got a pot of gold, consider a VIP ticket. At $100 each, passes include four drink tickets, private restrooms, an exclusive party area near the stage and line-skipping access. 12:30 p.m. at 5701 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. $20 for general admission. prekindle.com (search "St. Patrick's Parade Concert").
Dash Down Greenville
Start the day with an 8 a.m. "top o' the morning" to a few thousand fellow leprechauns and lasses during this raucous running race. The 5K route starts and ends at Greenville Avenue and East Lovers Lane near Central Market, where runners in goofy garb will gather for a post-race party. Perks include finisher medals, commemorative T-shirts, live music by Monoculture and free beer for those 21 and older. $45-$50 for adults and teens 13 and up, $35-$45 for children 12 and under. runproject.org.
McKinney St. Patrick's Day Festival and Shamrock Run
Whether you race hard or prefer a leisurely jig —er, jog — start your St. Patrick's party with the 5K Shamrock Run round the historic McKinney Cotton Mill. Participants receive finisher medals, swag bags and festive T-shirts. If you prefer to pass on the physical activity altogether, greet runners back at Tupps Brewery at the finish line with a green beer "sláinte!" An after-run festival includes food, costume contests, a marketplace with 50-plus vendors and performances by local Irish dance academies and Irish bands.
March 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tupps Brewery, 721 Anderson St., McKinney. $30 to participate in the Shamrock Run; $20 for a beer pass, which includes three pints and a koozie; free general admission, parking and shuttle service from Chestnut Commons parking garage, 301 E. Virginia St., McKinney. facebook.com/
St. Paddy's Pickle Parade and Palooza
Get tickled by shenanigans seemingly out of left field at this annual celebration of pickles and Irish culture. Odd combination, you might think. Except that Mansfield is home to the Best Maid pickle company and, therefore, the self-professed "Pickle Capital of Texas." This dill-icious two-day street party features pet and baby parades, beer keg races and pickle queens — a gaggle of glamorous gherkin-loving gals in green gowns and tiaras — among a long list of entertainment. Race through the streets during 10K, 5K and 1-mile runs; taste sweet, sour and sumptuous homemade pickle recipes; and watch the "World's Only St. Paddy's Pickle Parade" process through downtown on March 16 at 1 p.m.
March 15-16 at the intersection of North Main and East Broad streets in downtown Mansfield. Free parking and shuttle service available at Mansfield Legacy High School, 1263 N. Main St. Free admission. Prices vary for food, drinks (including beer) and select activities. pickleparade.org.
Cowtown Goes Green
Racing armadillos aren't the only reason to gallop over to Cowtown for St. Patrick's Day festivities, but they are a rootin' tootin' rolling highlight of this family-friendly celebration, which also includes face painting, a stilt walker, Irish music and Old West-style staged gunfights. Watch cloggers clip-clop down the historic brick streets and hear cowboy poetry before the daily cattle drive begins at 4 p.m. It will be followed by a special Western-Irish parade at 4:15 p.m., plus additional (paid) entertainment in the evening such as the Stockyards Championship Rodeo and a performance by Neal McCoy at Billy Bob's.
March 16 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Stockyards Station, 140 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth. Free, but admission required for select performances. fortworthstockyards.com.
St. Paddy's Day Texas Style
March doesn't just memorialize Ireland's patron saint, Patrick, but also commemorates Texas' declaration of independence from Mexico. This mixed-purpose party features Irish dancers from Maguire Academy, Irish-Scottish bluegrass by Reel Treble and Celtic rock by Rathmore between sets by country artist Sarah Hobbs and Texas soul guitarist Ian Moore. Take blankets, chairs and well-behaved pets, as well as money for food and beer (the selection will include Irish styles from North Texas' own Shannon Brewing Co.). Activities for children include a zip line, bounce houses, face painting and carnival games. The fun wraps up with an outdoor screening of Disney's Brave.
March 16 from 1 to 10 p.m. at Wayne Ferguson Plaza, 150 W. Church St., Lewisville. Free admission. Food and beer prices vary. Free parking available in public lots near City Hall and throughout Old Town. cityoflewisville.com.