Lexington's 32nd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival is Saturday, and it's bigger than ever.
The all-day event starts at 11 a.m. with the blessing of the keg at the CentrePointe lot, 100 West Main Street. The first keg of the day, a barrel of Alltech Bourbon Barrel Ale, will be blessed by a priest. Then barrel will be tapped, and samples will be handed out as Irish toasts are made.
At 1 p.m., the parade departs from Main Street and Midland Avenue, led by this year's grand marshal, John Nicholson, president of the Kentucky Horse Park and the World Games 2010 Foundation, which organized the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Festival activities for children and adults will include food, drink, singers, dancers, pipers and storytellers until 7 p.m.
In addition, McCarthy's Irish Bar, 117 South Upper Street, will be open all day and into the night with no cover. Corned beef and colcannon (mashed potatoes mixed with onions and cabbage) will be served, and live music is planned. Drink specials include $2.50 domestic bottles or draft and $3 wells. Find one of the gold coins hidden in the bar and get $1 off Budweiser products. Call (859) 258-2181 or go to Mccarthysirishbar.com for more info.
For Irish products, including jewelry and food, visit Failte Irish Import Shop, 113 South Upper Street, next to McCarthy's. Failte will sell merchandise at a tent at CentrePointe and at the store until 7 p.m. Call (859) 381-1498 or go to Failteimports.com.
Another St. Patrick's Day tradition is the Shamrock Shuffle, a benefit for Lexington Habitat for Humanity. The 3K footrace starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at West Short Street, near Cheapside. Advance registration and packet pickup is noon to 7 p.m. Friday at the Lexington Habitat ReStore, 451 Southland Drive.
Race-day registration($25) is 8 a.m. in the atrium of Victorian Square. For more information, call (859) 252-2224 or go to Shamrockshuffle3k.com.
And what's an Irish holiday without live music? Check out Walter Tunis' column on Page 6 for more about performances this weekend, including the McTeggart Irish Dancers, Liam's Fancy and the New York trio The Mickey Finns.
And for restaurant goings-on, check Sharon Thompson's Tidbits column on Page 8.