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Get Your Irish On! St. Patrick’s Day activities in Central Pennsylvania


You don’t hail from the Emerald Isle? No worries. Everyone can be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve highlighted some fun things to do with the kids, as well as a few over-21 outings we think are sitter-worthy. Prefer to stay in? We have some movies you can check out, too. Whatever you choose, be sure to wear green to help ward off the mischievous leprechauns — legend has it they’ll pinch anyone not wearing their favorite color. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

LOCAL ACTIVITIES

Watch parades with the kids, and then  hire a sitter for some grown-up fun.

Parades

The Harrisburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Sun., March 18, 1 p.m. It’s the first year that the parade has been organized by the Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District, which stepped in when longtime organizer Capital Region Association of Irish and Celts said it was no longer able to coordinate the event. The parade will feature pipe and drum bands, marching bands, floats, Irish dance groups and much more. For the parade route, visit harrisburgstpatricksdayparade.com.

Sitter-Worthy (Grown-ups only!)

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center. Fri., March 17, 6-10 p.m. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick’s annual fundraiser, benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. $25 in advance, $30 at the door; ticket price includes food, wine and draft beer, plus entertainment—including Irish dancers from the McGinley School of Irish Dance. friendlysonshbg.org/Events.html

St. Patrick’s Day at The Garryowen Irish Pub, Gettysburg. Fri., March 17. Celebrate the day in a truly Irish pub, with great whiskey as well as traditional fare including bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and Guinness beef stew. At 10 p.m., there’s live music featuring The Darby Beat with special guests. garryowenirishpub.net

The King Street Seisiún, Downtown Lancaster, Sun., March 19, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sure, St. Patrick’s Day is over, but you can still get celebrate in green style at Lancaster’s favorite Irish block party, presented by Annie Bailey’s Irish Pub, Tellus360 and the Lancaster Office of Promotion. With live Irish music, classic Irish food and plenty of beer and whiskey – all in the middle of East King Street, and all for a good cause. Will be held rain (or snow) or shine. Tickets must be purchased by March 18. anniebaileys.com.

DAY TRIPS

Fill up the tank (and maybe the wallet, too) and check out these fun St. Patrick’s Day events!

Riverdance, The Anniversary Tour. Benedum Center, Pittsburgh, March 17-19. It’s a long drive, but if you’re into Irish dancing, this is the show of all shows. You can go to Pittsburgh to see it over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, or wait a month and catch it in Hershey. Tickets start at $75. riverdance.com/tours/usa.

The Irish in Gettysburg, Battlefield and the Dobbin House, Gettysburg. Sat., March 18, 1-9 p.m. Take a look at the Battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of the Irish Brigade. Meet up with General Hancock at Auto Tour Stop #9 at 1 p.m. for a brief walk in the Wheatfield to learn about the actions of the Irish troops during that critical period of the battle. The evening event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a talk on the Irish at Gettysburg followed by dinner at the Dobbin House.  $50 per adult, $40 per child ages 9 and under. 717-337-9508, gettysburgbedandbreakfast.com.

MAKE IT A FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT AT HOME

Grab some popcorn and enjoy one of these St. Patrick Day rentals, available on a number of streaming sites.

The Secret of Kells (2009, animated, not rated). Brendan leaves his medieval home to follow an illuminator on an otherworldly adventure. History meets myth in this beautifully animated, Academy Award-nominated film.

Luck of the Irish (2001, TV-G). When junior high basketball player Kyle loses his lucky gold coin, strange things start happening. Kyle learns his family is descended from leprechauns, and he’ll need the coin back if he doesn’t want to turn into one.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1994, PG).  After the death of her mother, Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents on the coast of northwest Ireland. While there, Fiona searches for her long-lost younger brother, now rumored to be living with the selkies — magical seals that can turn into humans.

Finian’s Rainbow (1968, G). Finian steals a crock of gold and leaves Ireland for the mythical land of Rainbow Valley. But the leprechauns are not letting him get away so easily. Lots of dancing and singing in this film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

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