The City of Dublin kicks up its heels every March with an annual St. Patrick’s Day festival, attracting 80,000 participants from the region.
This year, things looked a little different for the 37th-annual celebration, but no less fun. City staffers Lauren Marriott and Shaun Chilkotowsky came up with a week-long list of activities and events both virtual and in-person. The variety of events was designed to give everyone an opportunity to go green.
“We are really just trying to do something for everyone, whether that’s at your house or not,” said Marriott, the city’s recreation coordinator. “We also wanted to turn it into Dublin Pride ... it’s our marques event we pride ourselves on having, so we still want to the get the community involved.”
The series of events planned were inspired by activities normally seen at the festival, but rather than being held in one place over a weekend, they were separated and reimagined to allow for social distancing and safety. One such activity was the Lucky to be in Dublin Chalk Art Contest, held March 13. Participants were asked to create chalk drawings at the civic center, while maintaining space between households. Anyone who wanted to participate but didn’t feel comfortable doing so at the civic center was able to chalk their masterpieces at home and submit photos to compete.
“They can decorate their sidewalk in their neighborhood and email us a picture and be included that way,” said Marriott. “We understand that people have lots of different comfort levels with everything and want to include everyone, whether they are staying home or not.”
Chilkotowsky had a hand in planning the events as Heritage and Culture Arts manager for the Parks and Community Services Department. According to him, planning for this year’s event began last year, after the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
“We started talking about all the different what-ifs,” he said. “We knew it was going to look different but wanted to still do something for the special community and commemorate the annual celebration. The economic impact of this event stretches much further than what we do here at the city as part of the actual celebration, and we wanted to make sure this continued.”
The celebrations this year feature many local businesses, including dance schools, restaurants and shops. There is a Shamrock 5K run-walk athletes can participate in virtually or in-person, a cooking demonstration with local high school students, senior events, a drive-in Celtic rock concert, a historical chat, a downloadable craft and Irish dance lessons.
“There is something for everyone,” Chilkotowski said. “Take advantage of the many specials being offered as part of the “St. Pats Discover Dublin and participate in one of the many virtual events. In-person events will have strict protocol in place for safety and require advanced registration, and if this is a yearly tradition, official celebration souvenir mugs can be purchased.”
Dublin’s week-long St. Patrick’s Day Celebration will take place from March 13 to 20. For more information and a complete list of activities, visit www.dublinstpats.com or call 925-556-4500.