Erin go Bragh, everyone.
This is the time of year when we can all be a little bit Irish. We’ll all dress head to toe in green and cover ourselves with shamrocks. So put on your favorite céilí music, order up a heaping pile of bangers and mash, and pour a pint of Guinness, and settle in for a spirited weekend in Johnson County and across central Indiana.
People will gather in downtown Indianapolis for the “greening” of the downtown canal. Revelers of all ages are planning on lining the streets for the floats, marching bands, bagpipers and dancers in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
In the small pubs and bars throughout central Indiana, people will pack in to listen to reels and jigs as Celtic music takes center stage.
From beloved traditions to community block parties to authentic celebrations of culture, this year’s St. Paddy’s parties are sure to be filled with shenanigans:
Greening of the Canal
Details: 5 p.m. Thursday, Canal Walk, 400 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis
What: The neon green plume of water shoots into the air, and slowly but consistently, the downtown canal turns a deep shade of green. The annual Greening of the Canal kicks off Indianapolis’ St. Patrick’s Day celebration and will feature live entertainment, food trucks and activities. Then a contingent of honorees, including the Irish Citizen of the Year, will add green dye to the canal.
McGinley’s Golden Ace Inn
Details: 10:30 a.m. Friday, 2533 E. Washington St., Indianapolis
What: St. Patrick’s Day is a time when anyone can pretend to be Irish. But the Golden Ace is the real deal. The longtime family-owned bar on Indianapolis’ east side was founded by Irish immigrants in 1934, and their St. Patrick’s parties have become renowned as some of the best and most authentic in the country.
Gather inside the intimate pub, or take part in the massive tent party outside. Music will be playing all day long, including sets by Patrick Grant, Déardaoin, The Bare Minimum and J.P. & the Donegal Boys. You must be 21 or over to attend. Leave your credit cards at home, though; the bar only accepts cash.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party
Details: 11:30 a.m. Friday, downtown Indianapolis; tent party starts at 9:30.
What: The centerpiece of the region’s festivities has always been Indianapolis’ St. Patrick’s Day parade. Irish-themed floats, school marching bands, pipe and drum bands and plenty of other cultural organizations march through the city, while thousands of spectators cheer and take in the sights.
The celebration actually starts early in the morning, with the parade tent and block party with food trucks, live entertainment and beer garden on North Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets. As an added bonus, Johnson County-centric band Highland Reign will be performing at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Cold Beer & Good Cheer
Details: 5 p.m. to close Friday, downtown Franklin
What: Join in the St. Patrick’s Day revelry and help support a great local cause at the same time. KIC-IT, a nonprofit helping homeless youth throughout Johnson County, is again hosting this fundraising pub crawl at three Franklin establishments.
Once you’ve bought your $25 punch card from KIC-IT, travel between the participating bars — The Willard, 99 N. Main St.; The Mint, 40 N. Water St.; and Old Towne Beer Hall, 55 E. Court St. — for food and drink specials. Turn in your punch card at the end of the night for a chance to win prizes. For more information, go to kic-it.org.
Details: 2 to 10 p.m. Friday, Monument Circle, downtown Indianapolis
What: Paint the town green during one of Indy’s most popular St. Patrick’s Day gatherings. The Blarney Bash will feature three live bands — the Doo!, Pom Teddy and Clayton Anderson — as well as green beer, food from food trucks Pi Pizza and BoxBurger, and TVs set up to watch basketball while you celebrate.
Tickets to the 21-and-over event are $10, with the first 400 people to buy admission getting a free t-shirt.
Shamrock Run and Walk
Details: 11 a.m. Saturday, Indianapolis Fire Department Union Hall Local 416, 748 Massachusetts Ave.
What: Sweat out the remnants of the St. Paddy’s holiday with this festive 5K run and walk. Participants don their greenest gear and circle through the downtown area, starting and finishing at the IFD Union Hall. After the run, celebrate your accomplishment with live music, food and beer. Once again, Highland Reign will be keeping the Irish spirit high with a blistering set of tunes.
All of-age runners/walkers get a free beer with registration.
“The Quiet Land of Erin: Celtic Harp Tunes and Tales from a Simpler Time”
Details: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis
What: If you got a little out of control on Friday, soothe your body and soul with a sounds of Ireland during this special concert. Organized by Storytelling Arts of Indiana, the event features Patrick Ball, a specialist in the oral tradition of Ireland and Celtic harp. Ball will show off both during his performance.
Tickets are $20, and can be found at storytellingarts.org.