by Terry Duffy and Rachel Jolbert
Grab your green and get ready for some corned beef, cabbage, fine Irish culture, music and dancing, and Irish beverages this weekend. St. Patrick's Day is upon us. There are a host of events going on throughout Niagara and Erie counties where you can celebrate the "luck of the Irish" this weekend.
Some good ones to check out:
•The Village of Youngstown's Business and Professional Association will host its second annual St. Patrick's Celebration Saturday, March 16, beginning at noon in honor of the late Neil Riordan, beloved former mayor of the village. The community is welcomed to watch a community parade as the Youngstown Board of Trustees and members of the YBPA dressed in "green garb" meet on the corner of Lockport and Main streets to kick off a "very green weekend" in the village.
Old Fort Niagara's Robert Emerson, serving as sergeant at arms, will lead off a contingent of Revolutionary British soldiers and area musicians in a presentation of arms tribute to Riordan. Members of the village board, the Riordan family and local business members will join with the McKenzie Highlanders, who will be marching in the parade wearing traditional Scottish kilts, playing bagpipes and drums in procession from the Ontario House to Brennan's Irish Pub in a celebration of green.
Area businesses will be offering St. Patrick's Day specials and all are invited for the celebration.
•The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Men's Division 1 of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians Niagara Falls, NY, will celebrate its 31st annual St. Patrick's Day Party Sunday at the Conference Center - Niagara Falls, 101 Falls St., in Niagara Falls.
The event begins with the "world's shortest parade" at 4:45 p.m. and continues with what's billed as "Western New York's Biggest St. Patrick's Day Celebration" from 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets for the event are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. There will be music by The Blarney Bunch, dancing by the McCarthy School of Irish Dance, corned beef and cabbage served and, of course, Irish beer and other beverages. AOH organizers will be collecting non-perishable food items to be donated to the Love, Heart and Soul Pantry in memory of On Gorta Mór, the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1850.
"This is truly the largest annual party of its kind in Western New York," said Jason Murgia, director of events at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls. "Since this year St. Patrick's Day falls on a weekend, we are expecting even larger crowds than usual."
Advance sale tickets are being sold at B&B Cigars on Main Street and McCloud's Pharmacy on Buffalo Avenue in Niagara Falls; Always a Party on Military Road in the Town on Niagara; Cheri Amour on Center Street in Lewiston; and at McNerney's Irish Imports inside the Eastern Hills Mall.
•In Buffalo, there's two parades to enjoy. On Saturday, March 16, the Valley Community Association's "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at noon and proceeds along streets in the Old First Ward area of South Buffalo.
The procession will wind through the streets of the historic Buffalo River community with the participation of more than 100 marching units, making the "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade one of the largest in WNY. Marching contingents will include bands, clowns, community floats, social clubs, classic cars, Irish dancers, family clans, sports groups, fire and police departments, and much more. Viewing of the parade is available along South Park Avenue (between Hamburg and Smith streets), Smith Street (between South Park Avenue and Elk Street), Elk Street (between Smith Street and South Park Avenue), Hamburg Street (between South Park and O'Connell avenues), and O'Connell Avenue (between Hamburg and Louisiana streets).
A grand "Irish Hooley" will follow from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Valley Community Association, 91 Leddy St., Buffalo. The event is open to the public. For more information, visit www.thevalleycenter.com.
•On Sunday, The United Irish American Association of Erie County will host its 73rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade along Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo.
An area favorite, the parade gets under way at 2 p.m. and is expected to feature dozens of units. Mass will be celebrated that morning by newly installed Bishop Richard J. Malone at St. Joseph's Cathedral at 10:30 a.m. before the lineup for the parade that begins in Niagara Square. The Association announced that Mark R. O'Neill of Hamburg would serve as grand marshal of the 2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade, which continues along Delaware Avenue to 4 p.m. For more visit www.buffalostpatricksdayparade.com.
Still more activities:
•The Williamsville Business Association's St. Patrick's Day week, featuring indoor and outdoor activities, continues to Sunday, March 17, along Main Street in the Village of Williamsville. For more, visit www.willvill.com.
•St. Patrick's Day at the Lewiston Village Pub, 840 Center St., kicks off at 8 a.m., today, March 16, with Irish food and drink specials, Irish dancers, music and more, continuing both Saturday and Sunday. For more, visit www.lewistonvillagepub.com.
•St. Patrick's Day weekend celebrations will be held at the Buffalo Irish Center, 245 Abbott Road, Buffalo. For more, visit www.buffaloirishcenter.com.
•A special St. Patrick's "Celtic Art Show," presented by Niagara Falls artist Mary Grace O will be held at Wine on Third, 501 Third St., Niagara Falls, on Thursday, March 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. The showing will feature Celtic art and Celtic entertainment.
"Join us for another great 'Thursday on Third' event! This is a group show and we will have Celtic-inspired artwork from a very talented group of local artists, says Mary Grace. "Please join us for another night of art, food, fun ... oh, and wine." For more, contact Wine on Third at 716-245-4147.