By Kennedy McJunkin
The 35th annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration begins Thursday, March 14, with the Irish flag raising at Chick-fil-A in Five Points South.
The ceremony, a function of the Birmingham Irish Cultural Society, starts at 5:30 p.m. Following the flag raising, a procession of bagpipes will lead the crowd to Brennan’s Irish Pub for a toast to the health of Birmingham.
Birmingham Irish Cultural Society chairman Marty Connors hopes to gather as many people as possible for Birmingham’s largest St. Patrick’s toast.
“A significant number of people have Irish and Scottish ancestry, and maybe they should be reminded,” Connors said.
Guinness pints will be available for $5 with the option to get a name etched on the glass.
The celebration continues the night of March 15 with the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Dinner Celebration at Pine Tree Country Club from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“It is amazing how much this dinner has evolved,” said Connors. “What started off as a keg party is now a white tablecloth fundraising dinner.”
Proceeds will be donated to Kid One Transport and the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation.
Traditional Irish cuisine, drinks and music will be provided – except for green beer.
“You will not see green beer,” said Connors. “It is artificial food dye. You will see real Irish beer, like Guinness.”
Tickets may be purchased on the Birmingham Irish Cultural Society’s Facebook page.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, led by the Ian Sturrock Memorial Pipe Band, will be March 16 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The parade lineup, Irish dancing and refreshment specials begin at 11 a.m. in the Southern Research Institute parking lot. Chick-fil-A will host the Kids Area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All day March 16 and 17, participating merchants in the Five Points area will offer Irish food and drink specials.
To find a list of the participating restaurants and more information about the St Patrick’s celebration, visit stpatsfivepoints.com.
“First it was the party, then the parade, and the folklore since is priceless,” said Connors.