Share story

S unday is St. Patrick’s Day, and the Irish Heritage Club kicks off Seattle’s celebration at Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade — a local tradition since 1972, with Irish dancers, bagpipe bands, dog clubs, drill teams and heritage groups.

Anyone with an Irish connection or not (everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!) can march in the parade without preregistration in one of four groups representing areas in Ireland where you think your ancestors came from. Seniors and others who can’t walk the distance can ride the route in the Seniors’ Shamrock Shuttle.

At the parade’s conclusion at Westlake Park, spectators are welcome to join participants traveling to Seattle Center by Monorail for the official parade closing ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at the Irish Festival at Seattle Center Armory.

Irish Festival events Saturday and Sunday include continuous Irish dancing and music on the Main Stage, art displays, cultural exhibits, kids’ activities and workshops on Irish history, genealogy and language. Kids ages 12 and younger are invited to join in contests to find the “Most Irish-looking Face” at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and the “Smilingest Irish Eyes” at 1:45 Sunday, based not on coloring but on “eyes twinkle bright as can be” and a smile that would “steal your heart away,” as described in the classic tune “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

This week, save 90% on digital access.

The Irish Reels Film Festival free film screenings in the Armory Conference Room include the award-winning 2012 “His and Hers” and documentary “Dreaming The Quiet Man,” a look at the 1952 movie about Ireland, “The Quiet Man.” Other festival features include a Celtic-themed marketplace and food vendors in the Armory and Irish-made DeLorean 1980s sports cars on display outside from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Irish Heritage Club of Seattle sponsors events throughout the year and is open to anyone interested in “Things Irish.” See their website for information about membership, upcoming Irish concerts, lectures, movies and social events in the Seattle area and news about Ireland.

Madeline McKenzie:

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.