I am not an expert on St. Patrick's Day or Ireland. But I do know that — my preschool son's leprechaun traps aside — that my favorite way to celebrate the green-themed holiday is not with shamrocks but with toe-tapping music and dance. And as luck would have it, St. Paddy's weekend is packed with family music opportunities, Irish and otherwise. (Btw, it's "St. Paddy's, not "St. Patty's," as a reader gently corrected me today.)
Here are some weekend highlights, including nods to non-musical, shamrock-y fun. (Check our calendar for a much more complete list!)
- The grandaddy of celebrations, the Irish Festival at the Seattle Center Armory, is two free days of Irish tunes, step dancing, arts, hands-on activities, and genealogy and language workshops.
- While at the Seattle Center, you can also stop by the Seattle Children's Museum for a serious leprechaun fest, including a pot o' gold scavenger hunt, Irish dancing and green crafts.
- Downtown Seattle's traditional St. Patrick's Day parade is tons of family fun, starting downtown at 12:30 p.m., and ending at the Seattle Center festival. And later that day is the inaugural St. Patrick's Day Pet Costume Contest and Parade at Alki, which will feature, yes, pets and their people. It's hosted by Irish pub the Celtic Swell; participation is free, but donations benefit the Seattle Humane Society. 2–4 p.m.
- Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will be tossing lots of greenie treats to its animals all day, including Lucky Charms popsicles for gibbons and a shark feed, with great critter observation opportunities. Included in admission.
- If your kids can stay up a little late, The Onlies' all-ages CD release party is a winner. The Onlies are a trio of promising young musicians (all only kids, hence the name) who perform inspired interpretations of Scottish, Irish, American and original tunes and songs. They are celebrating the release of their first CD, Setting Out to Sea, this Saturday, March 16, at an all-ages show at Hale's Palladium in Seattle, from 7:30–10 p.m. Tickets $10 adult, $5 students, under 10 free.
- Moving away from Ireland and staying on inspired music, head to Shoreline Community College Theater to watch Ugandan Orphans Choir, a 10-piece children’s choir performing traditional African folk songs with tribal drumming, dancing, singing and storytelling. 11 a.m. $8. (They're also playing at NAAM Kids Day the same day.)
- Award-winning music educator Aaron Nigel Smith performs at Town Hall Seattle. 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. Free for kids ages 12 and younger, and only $5 for accompanying adults.
- At Crossroads Shopping Center, grab some eats from the yummy food court and and seats at MarketStage, where Susan Burke will play Celtic music from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Free.
- Irish, no. Toe-tapping, deep-roots, yes. Columbia City's newish, hot music spot, the Royal Room, hosts a Country-Fried Gospel Brunch, featuring Seattle musicians Nova Devonie, Del Rey, Jo Miller, Charmaine Slaven and Charlie Beck. Brunch starts at 10 a.m., show begins at 11 a.m. No cover.
- The Onlies perform again at the South Lake Union Irish pub A Terrible Beauty, from noon-1:30 p.m. (Kids can be at the pub until 2 p.m.)
- And for dancing and live fiddle music, try out Phinney Neighborhood Center's family contra dance, from 3-5 p.m. in Seattle. Only $6 a person, or $18 a family, and lots of laughs as you learn simple contras.
And more ideas:
- Rhythm of the Dance plays at Comcast Arena on Tuesday, March 19.
- Celebrate green and spring with one of these spring hikes.
- Find many, many DIY St. Patrick's Day ideas for crafts and treats on our Pinterest boards and in ParentMap's DIY section.