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In Chicago: The river turns green and the bagpipes play for St. Patrick

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Sure and begorrah, St Patrick’s Day comes March 17. But in Chicago, the big celebration happens the Saturday before the Irish saint’s official date. This weekend, the date is March 15, 2014.

Go downtown early to get a good spot on the Michigan Avenue Bridge or along Wacker Drive to watch the river dyed green at 10 a.m.

Then, head over to Columbus Drive in Grant Park to hear bagpipes, watch Irish dancers and see politicians march in one of the country’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The parade starts at Balboa Drive at noon and moves north on Columbus Drive to Monroe Drive. Yes, Monroe is a street west of Michigan Avenue but like neighboring east-west roads, it really is labeled a drive east of Michigan Avenue.

For good food and authentic music and dance after the parade, head to the Irish American Heritage Center at 4626 N. Knox St, Chicago, IL for its St. Patrick’s Day Festival.

The festival runs from 1p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $15 adults, $12 in advance through March 14.

And if you hear "céad míle fáilte" you will know they are saying a hundred thousand welcomes.

For the entertainment schedule visit Festival. For more information visit Irish American Heritage Center or call 773-282-7035.

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