by Amanda Miller Allen
Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Midtown Atlanta. This year’s parade includes bag pipers, drum corps, Irish dancing, decorated floats and drill teams. The parade starts at Peachtree and 16th streets and continues south on Peachtree to 5th St. March 14. Noon-1:30 p.m. Free. atlantastpats.com
Shamrock at the Station. Atlantic Station. Head over to Atlantic Station after the parade for Irish dancing, games, face painting, crafts, bag pipers and live music. March 14. Family activities, 2-6 p.m.; Concert, 7-10 p.m. 1380 Atlantic Dr., Atlanta. Free. atlanticstation.com.
Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day 5K. Piedmont Park. A family-friendly 5k run with Irish costume contests, pot of gold drawings, Irish beads for all runners, Irish jig contest, and more. March 15. 8:30 a.m. 400 Park Dr., Atlanta. $35. rungeorgia.com.
The Luck of Avalon. Enjoy Irish music, dancing and other special events by restaurants and retailers. March 17. 3-10 p.m. 2200 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. 770-765-1000. Free. experienceavalon.com
St. Patrick’s Day Family Bike Ride. Panola Mountain. Bring the whole gang out for this relaxed-paced, family-oriented bike ride. Panola Mountain has adult bikes for rent! Don’t forget to wear green for a chance to win a prize. March 15. 1-3 p.m. Pre-register. 2600 Highway 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. $3 per rider, $5 parking. gastateparks.org/PanolaMountain.
Surprise the family with green pancakes for breakfast, or make the pancakes together – simply add green gel food coloring to your favorite pancake recipe.
Make a green smoothie packed with fruits and vegetables and (gasp!) spinach, though the kids will never know. Here’s one called the Leaping Leprechaun, from Omega Juicers: Blend ½-cup strawberries, 1 banana, ½-cup spinach and 1 cup water until smooth. To make it a shake, blend in a few ice cubes.
Make a Leprechaun hat with the kids. You’ll need green gift-wrap paper, an old belt (or paper or cloth strip) and a large beach pail. Put the belt around the rim of the beach pail to size it, and, if necessary, punch a new hole and cut off the excess belt. Remove the belt and loop it, then put the wrapping paper over the pail and shape it. Place the looped belt over the pail and push it down to the bottom of the bucket to secure the paper. Remove the hat from the pail, and viola!, your kid can dress like a Leprechaun.
Surprise the family with these two bits of trivia:
Limericks, a form of poetry that’s often humorous, take their name from the town of Limerick, Ireland. Here’s one that children love from the Brownielocks and the 3 Bears site (brownielocks.com):
Speedy Sam, while exploring a cave,
Had what I call a very close shave,
He stepped on a bear,
Who had dozed off in there.
I’m glad he was faster than brave.
Luck of the Irish? Don’t wish you had it! It’s a phrase that means the opposite of what you would think – “luck of the Irish” is bad luck, because the Irish people have had lots of it over the centuries, including violent rebellions, famines and disease.