What comes to mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day? I think of huge Irish festivals and mountains of corned beef and cabbage. But did you know that Saint Patrick’s Day, the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is technically a religious holiday celebrating the saint’s leading role in converting Ireland to Christianity? And although the Irish take the holiday pretty seriously, Americans are credited with creating the spectacle that it is today. Around 300 years ago, our country’s Irish immigrants dyed whole rivers green and hosted elaborate parades to celebrate the Irish culture. And, although the holiday usually falls during the Christian season of Lent, the restrictions on food and drink were often lifted on St. Patrick’s Day, which is what led to the traditions of overindulging on Irish food and beer.
As a kid, I always loved St. Patrick’s Day. I’d dress in green clothing (so as to be invisible to leprechauns obviously) and pinch all of my classmates who forgot to dress appropriately. My parents would color my milk green at dinner, and as a family we’d usually attend a local parade or celebratory dinner.
Of course when I turned 21, I discovered the grown-up side of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and regularly attended the annual “St. Pat’s in Five Points” festival in my college town. Thousands of people would converge in the town square to listen to live music, shop local vendors, and party. We would drink green beer and throw coins into the city fountain, which turned green for the day.
Now I want to continue enjoying the holiday as a family and to begin building St. Patrick’s Day memories for my children that are as silly and enjoyable as the ones I had. In that spirit I have put together a few options for celebrating this fun-filled day.
Check out these local(ish) family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day options.
- Participants at the McKinney St. Patrick’s Day Beer Walk will stroll downtown, tasting 20 craft beers, visiting local vendors and enjoying family-friendly activities. There’s even a dog costume contest. The event is on Saturday, March 13, 2021, and you must reserve tickets online.
- Visiting the Dallas Arboretum is a beautiful and educational way to enjoy nature any day and offers a more Covid-friendly way to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day since it’s mostly outdoors and less crowded than a festival. On Wednesday, March 17th, visit to hear live celtic fiddle music and singing, drink green beer, and watch an Irish quick bread cooking demonstration.
- House of Shine is a discovery museum located in Grapevine. On Wednesday, March 17th, guests can enjoy mint milkshakes and St. Patricks’ Day games in addition to the regular museum activities. Admission is free (donations accepted), but tickets must be reserved in advance.
- This year the North Texas Irish Festival will be presented online. Enjoy live-streamed music, dancing, storytelling, cooking, and animal shows from the comfort of your own home. Vendors are available for online shopping and you could do some St. Patrick’s Day crafts, while you watch.
- Three years ago, I remember driving to work on March 17th and saw a man running, dressed head to toe in sparkly green running attire and beads. I did NOT get it until a few days ago when I discovered the The Virtual Run Challenge, an organization bringing runners across the country together to exercise and support their favorite charities. Their Shamrocks and Shenanigans Virtual Run is a 4-mile run/walk that encourages participants to dress up and post photos of their runs and costumes on social media. It’s a great way to be a part of a community while staying distanced within your family unit.
- Sign up for the St. Patrick’s Day Blooms with Alice’s Table and have farm-fresh flowers delivered to your door. Join the live event on Friday, March 12th at 6pm and learn to cut and arrange your flowers. I suggest you also make your own Irish soda bread and drinks for a night of family fun.
- Finally, work as a family to build a Leprechaun trap. Legend has it that the mischievous creatures can be lured and captured. Set the trap out the night before St. Patrick’s Day and see if you can snag one. But be careful (and as a parent, prepared) because Leprechauns are sneaky little guys and almost always escape, leaving gold coins or chocolates behind in their place.
However you choose to celebrate this year, involve your kids. Even if they don’t remember the details of the day, they’ll surely remember the good feelings they had being silly and creative with their family. And as the saying goes, “wherever you go and whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you!”
About the Author
About the Author: Carrie Thomas
Carrie Thomas is a mother of 3 (Hailey 2, Caleb 4, and Jackson 7) and has been a CECPTA blue and yellow group member for almost 2 years. She moved to Carrollton from New Jersey in the winter of 2018 when her husband accepted a job at UTD. She is a middle school English teacher in Carrollton and loves spending time with her family, reading dystopian YA novels, and unwinding with a glass of wine and one of the well-written Netflix shows.