St. Patrick's Day celebrations kick off this weekend in St. Louis with the 45th Annual Downtown Parade on Saturday, March 15, 2014. The parade is one of the biggest events of the year in Downtown St. Louis, often attracting a crowd of more than 200,000 people. There will be more than 100 floats, marching bands and giant balloons making their way down Market Street. The parade begins at noon.
Before, during or after the parade, check out the Irish Village at Kiener Plaza. There will be food, drinks, Irish gifts and live music. The Irish Village is open beginning at 9 a.m.
And if all this weren't enough, don't forget the Dogtown Parade on March 17.
Fish fries are a popular destination on Friday nights during Lent. Dozens of St. Louis area churches host the meatless dinners, but the one at St. Cecilia parish in south St. Louis is different. You'll find plenty of fish on the menu, of course, but also chile rellenos, bean tostadas and cheese quesadillas. The menu is a reflection of St. Cecilia's commitment to serving the local Hispanic community.
So if you'd like something new this Lenten season, give the one at St. Cecilia a try. The fish fries are held from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., each Friday of Lent (except Good Friday). Prices are $11 for an individual dinner. St. Cecilia is located at 5418 Louisiana Avenue in south St. Louis.
Before the St. Patrick's Day celebrations begin, head over to the Schlafly Tap Room this weekend for the annual Oyster & Stout Festival. The restaurant will be serving up more than 35,000 oysters on Friday and Saturday, along with three kinds of Schlafly stouts. Another highlight of the event, guest shuckers from the East and West Coasts will be on hand to demonstrate their oyster shucking skills.
Oyster & Stout Festival
March 7 & 8, 2014
Schlafly Tap Room
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There's one last chance to celebrate Mardi Gras before the beginning of Lent. The annual Light Up the Night Fat Tuesday Parade is March 4, 2014, in downtown St. Louis. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. It steps off at Broadway and Washington Avenue, then makes its way west on Washington to 14th Street.
After the parade, head back to Soulard for the Fat Tuesday Pub Crawl. More than 30 Soulard bars and restaurants will be offering drink specials from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The first 1,000 people to attend will also get a souvenir mug. For more information on the pub crawl, see the Soulard Business Association website.
If you're like me and have a list of projects to do around the house, consider checking out the 2014 St. Louis Builders Home & Garden Show at the America's Center and Edward Jones Dome. You'll find plenty of ideas from more than 500 exhibitors and 1,800 booths. There are decorating ideas, hands-on demonstrations and nearly everything else you could want or need for your home.
This year's event is Thursday, March 6, through Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $4 for children. Kids 5 and younger are free.
If you like parades, St. Louis has you covered over the next few weeks. Soulard Mardi Gras is wrapping up with two big parades. Then, there are the annual St. Patrick's Day parades in the middle of March. Here are details on the upcoming parades in St. Louis:
Soulard Mardi Gras
Grand Parade - March 1, 2014, at 11 a.m., in Soulard
Fat Tuesday Parade - March 4, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., in Downtown St. Louis
St. Patrick's Day
Downtown Parade - March 15, 2014, at noon in Downtown St. Louis
Hibernian Parade - March 17, 2014, at noon along Tamm Avenue in Dogtown
We just can't seem to get a break from this cold weather, but here's something that might make the warm days of summer feel just a little closer. Tickets for the St. Louis Cardinals 2014 season go on sale this Friday, February 28 at 10 a.m. Single game tickets start at $10. The home opener on April 7 against the Reds is sold out, but there are tickets available for other popular games including the Cubs series at Busch Stadium April 11-13. Tickets are available online and at the stadium box office.
March is a fun month in St. Louis. Mardi Gras celebrations wrap up at the beginning of the month, and there's still St. Patrick's Day to look forward to. You can attend both parades this year. The Downtown parade is on March 15, while the the Dogtown parade will be held March 17. For more things to do this month, check out the top events in March 2014 in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the top free attractions in the area. The museum is a great place to go any day, but Sundays are the best time to visit if you're bringing the kids along. Each Sunday, the museum hosts free family-friendly events from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The activities include art projects and a 30 minute family tour through the galleries at 2:30 p.m. The St. Louis Art Museum is located at One Fine Arts Drive in Forest Park. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Friday until 9 p.m. For more information, see my article on Family Sundays at the St. Louis Art Museum.
One of the big events of Soulard Mardi Gras is this Sunday, February 23, 2014. The Beggin' Pet Parade draws thousands of dogs and their owners to the streets of Soulard. The parade begins at 1 p.m., at the corner of Allen and Menard in Soulard. After the parade, stick around for the Wiener Dog Derby which begins at 2 p.m. There's also a free concert by the Barenaked Ladies at 2 p.m., at 9th and Lafayette.
(Photo by David O'Brien)