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St. Patrick's Day fun awaits in Virginia

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Plan ahead for St. Patrick's Day fun in Virginia. From the McDonald's St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Roanoke to Shamrock the Block in Richmond, you'll find St. Patrick's Day fun for the entire family at Virginia.org.

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In Roanoke, the McDonald's St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2014, but the fun lasts into the night with the Shamrock Festival. Irish music, food and drinks add to the festive air.

Arrive early for the best parade viewing. Be sure to wear green. You can pick up St. Patrick's Day beads and necklaces at the dollar store or your favorite party store.

The parade route runs from Jefferson Street to Campbell Avenue and from Campbell Avenue to Williamson Road. There's always a crowd on hand, dressed in their Irish best.

The Shamrock Festival is located at Wells Fargo Plaza, on the corner of Salem Avenue and Market Street near the City Market.

Festival action cranks up after the parade with live music on stage until 8 p.m. Craft vendors will have booths on Wall Street and Market Street.

The McDonald's Kids Area is located in front of the Taubman Museum of Art on Salem Avenue. Activities begin at noon and run until 5 p.m.

Kids will enjoy face painting, games, inflatables and more. The Taubman Museum of Art will offer free admission all day for St. Patrick's Day.

In Richmond, Shamrock the Block is the first outdoor event of the season. The fun begins at 11 a.m. on March 15 on the Boulevard off Broad Street.

The new location offers plenty of room to Shamrock the Block with great food, live music and fun for the entire family until 5 p.m.

The kids area is packed with family-friendly fun for all ages. Jugglers, face painting and bounce houses will entertain the kids all day.

Shamrock the Block is free to attend. Food and drinks of all varieties are available for purchase. Last year's event brought 30,000 people to downtown Richmond so plan to arrive early.

Virginia Beach will be packed with crowds for the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon the weekend of March 14-16. Over 28,000 runners of every skill level will compete in several events during the weekend.

The two-day Shamrock Sports and Fitness Expo will be held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, located at 1000 19th Street. Expo hours are noon to 9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The TowneBank Shamrock 8k begins at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday. Run or walk the course and enjoy the views on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

The Leprechaun Dash features young runners ages 6 months to 5 years. This fun event begins at 10:30 and each participant receives a special finisher's medal.

The Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile is for elementary school students. Participants who have run 25.2 miles at home or school will run the final mile of their marathon at 11 a.m.

On Sunday, the Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon begins at 7 a.m. at the Cavalier on 42nd Street and ends at 31st Street on the Boardwalk.

The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon begins at 8:30 a.m. This event is a 2015 Boston Qualifier so expect to see some of the best runners on the East Coast.

Many Northern Virginia families will head to Washington, D.C. for the 43rd annual St. Patrick's Parade on Sunday, March 16.

The parade begins at noon and proceeds down Constitution Avenue from 7th Street to 17th Street, N.W. If you're arriving on the Metro, get off at the Federal Triangle, Archives-Navy Memorial or Smithsonian stations.

Whether you're Irish through and through or just have a touch of green blood, there are plenty of ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Virginia.

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