Since I was a little kid, St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my FAVORITE holidays. My (big fat) Irish family never misses an opportunity to party, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception! Ireland may be my favorite place on earth, and it’s a country filled with the warmest, friendliest people I’ve ever encountered. So whether you’re a card-carrying Celtic ginger like myself, or just Irish at heart, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the emerald isle in Columbia!
Flogging Molly at The Music Farm
Pre-St. Pat’s date night anyone?? On Thursday, March 1 at 8 p.m., Flogging Molly plays toe-tapping, knee-slapping Celtic-punk tunes at the Music Farm that will keep you dancing.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebratory Kick-Off Event
Don’t wait until March 17 to get in the festival spirit and welcome the arrival of spring. Join locals on Friday, March 9 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. for the official kick-off to St. Pat’s in Five Points. This FREE family-friendly event is one you won’t want to miss! Irish-themed entertainment, including bagpipers, Rince N’ah Eireann dancers, Kudzu Queens and more, will be sure to put you in the shamrock spirit. Children can join other little leprechauns and help dye the fountain green. The wee ones and their chaperones are then invited to explore the Five Points village on a scavenger hunt through Five Points to find our festival mascot hiding in fun and fanciful places.
Ceili (Irish Festive Gathering)
In honor of Irish Heritage Month, the Ancient Order of Hibernians will host its annual Ceili (an Irish Festive Gathering) on Saturday, March 3 at the American Legion Hall. Kids can enjoy music and dancing — perfect for getting that extra energy out before bedtime. Or book a sitter and come out to enjoy the festivities later in the evening. Authentic food and beer will be available. Doors open at 6 p.m. Children under 16 are free (bonus!) while tickets for adults are $10 at the door (includes five free food and drink tickets!).
St. Patrick’s Celebration Days
Bring your family to EdVenture on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, March 17 and 18, and escape to Tir Na Nag—the Irish “Land of Youth” where the fae people and leprechauns dwell. Travel down to our underground fairy realm where your children will experience interactive games with fairies, learn Irish fairy traditions, and set leprechaun traps during St. Patrick’s Celebration Days!
Activities for the day include:
- Traditional Irish Games (Fairy Kingdom, Lower Level) 10 – 10:45 a.m., Noon – 12:45 p.m., 2 – 2:45 p.m.
- Leprechaun Smoothies (Cooking Lab) Friday, 1 – 3 p.m. & Saturday, 10 am – Noon
- Making Chromatography Rainbows science experiment (Bio Lab) Friday, 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. & Saturday, 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
- Interactive Story Telling: (Fairy Kingdom, Lower Level) The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow ~ 11 – 11:45 a.m. How to Catch a Leprechaun ~ 1 – 1:45 p.m.
- Irish Rings Game (Fairy Kingdom, Lower Level) All Day
- Shamrock Scavenger Hunt (Throughout the Museum) All Day
- Build Your Own Leprechaun Trap (Tinker Tech) All Day
- Book of Kells art time (AHA! Factory) All Day
- Traditional Soda Bread Cooking Demo (Cooking Lab) Saturday, 2 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
On Saturday, March 17, at 10 a.m. there will be magic in the air on Devine Street in Columbia where one of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day festivals will begin its second event of the day, the St. Pat’s Parade, which will assemble at Dreher High School and travel the Musical Mile down Devine Street into Five Points offering several blocks of public viewing. After entering Five Points, the parade will wind its way down Devine Street and up Saluda Avenue, returning to Harden Street at the Five Points Fountain and concluding near Food Lion.
Go to the Green Family (and Individual) Run
Kick-off the St. Pat’s in Five Points Festival on Saturday, March 17 with Columbia’s largest road race! Get to the Green features 15K, 10K, 5K and 1-Mile family fun run events in which participants chase rainbows in pursuit of a pot of gold. Race registration includes a t-shirt, post-race refreshments and entry into the St. Pat’s Festival. Participants will also receive a commemorative finisher’s medal!
Family Friendly St. Pat’s in 5 Points Playland
Rides! Games! Educational Fun! Celebrating all things green and Gaelic with your wee ones? Your little leprechauns are sure to think they’ve found the end of the rainbow in this fun-filled area with rides, games, kid-approved entertainment, tasty treats, a petting zoo, magic shows, karaoke, and face painting. Parents are likely to think they’ve found the end of the rainbow here as well! Silly adults … St. Pat’s is for kids! Entry to the park is free, however, rides and activities do require tickets which can be purchased on site.
The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose at School Storytime
A mischievous leprechaun is causing all kinds of trouble at school, but Gingerbread Man is back to save the day! Join Barnes & Noble on Saturday, March 17 at 11 a.m. for this special St. Patrick’s Day Storytime, with activities to follow.
Silent Disco for Grown-Ups
Try a little something different during St. Pat’s in 5 Points. Go to the silent disco! Grab your neon green and head to 800 block of Harden Street (by the College Street stage) for a dance party that hits the mute button on Saturday, March 17 from 2 – 6 p.m.! Each person grabs a headset and gets to rock out all afternoon to awesome DJs including Bois Obscur, Dylan Deekay, Guy L, Jade Frost, and LUCiD.
Tartan Day South
Keep the Celtic party going throughout the month of March! Tartan Day South, March 22 – 25, is one of my family’s all-time favorite events of the year. Think traditional Highland Games, bagpipers, live music, a British Isles car show, sheep herding, falconry, traditional Irish dancing, great food, and so much more! The main event on Saturday, March 23 takes place at the Cayce Motor Speedway.
“The 8th Annual Tartan Day South Celebration is a four-day event honoring Celtic heritage in our area. The festival is an array of different events at many different venues featuring unique sports, incredible music, great foods and interactive as well as interesting exhibitions. The event is one of a kind in the Midlands. Nearly 60,000 patrons have attended Tartan Day South events since 2011, the growth has been phenomenal in just seven short years. Come join us in celebrating the contributions of Scottish and Irish Americans and the culture they love that brings such great fun for all ages right here at home!”