Chicago knows how to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day


Either come to Chicago, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the town rated tops n the country for wearin’ the green, or if already in town find out about all the events because they are likely to be happening where you are or want to be.

Don’t’ worry that you missed such neighborhood parades as the Southside one that take place the Saturday before March 17. They’re fun but a lot more happens March 17 including turning the Chicago River green followed by the big, downtown parade. Of course there are also pub crawls. a run, and two days of music and dance at the Irish American Heritage Center. Just bring something green to wear.

Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Photo complements City of Chicago

Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Photo complements City of Chicago


The River  

Join the crowd at 9 a.m., March 17, 2018 on Wacker Drive (upper or lower) or on the east side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge to watch the river turn green with an eco-friendly substance poured from the boat that you’ll see going by. Best plan is to get there early.


The Parade

After seeing the river, find a spot on Columbus Drive west of Michigan Avenue between Balbo on the south and Randolph Street on the north before the noon step-off time.  Sponsored by Chicago Plumbers Local 130 UA and the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, the city’s downtown parade always has politicians marching but there are also several Irish dance groups and Irish bands. For more information visit City of Chicago/Parade and ChicagoStPatricksDayParade.


Irish American Heritage Center Festival

IAHC’s  festival is a two day event of Irish dance, singers and music. This year it actually falls April 17-18, but sometimes it is held the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day if March 17 is not on a weekend. Typically drawing about 10,000 visitors after the parade and the following day, it goes from 1 p.m. to midnight. There’s also a crafts’ fair, Irish gifts and food and drinks available to purchase. Admission tickets are $15 or $12 if purchased before March 16. Youngsters age 12 and under admitted free. IAHC is at 4526 N. Knox Ave. Chicago. For tickets and more information visit Irish American Festival.


St. Paddy’s Day Run

Certainly there is a lot of drinking and also some eating. So a good way to work off the weight ahead of time is to participate in a 5 or 8 K run or walk in the Lincoln Park neighborhood just north of the downtown. Once known as the Leprechaun Leap, the event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 17 from near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Participants enthusiastically put together their green attire but they also get a commemorative shirt, and an invite to the post party at Select Steak House (2808 N. Halsted St. north of the Finish Line. For registration and other information visit Paddy’s Day run.


Lincoln Park St. Pat’s Crawl

Going from 3 to 9 p.m., March 17. participants of this crawl visit several bars in the Lincoln Park neighborhood starting at 2247 N. Lincoln Ave., To register and for more information visit Lincoln Park St. Pats Crawl. You Sat, March 17, 2018


Chicago Shamrock Crawl

Do the Wrigleyville bars from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 17. Participants can pick up their tees and other paraphernalia ahead of time. Registration and other info visit Chicago Shamrock Crawl.


St. Paddy’s Day Boat cruises

There are two cruises that leave from Navy Pier. The Irish-themed Architecture River Tour begins in the morning at 10:45 a.m. and lasts 75 minutes. For tickets and more information visit Shoreline Sightseeing. There is also the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Cruise which is a St. Paddy’s Day party on the Mystic Blue. It boards at 6:30 p.m. goes from 7 to 10 p.m. For reservations and information visit Mystic Blue Cruises.


The only problem with celebrating the day in Chicago is the abundance of good choices.


Good food and spa or theatre night equal a great Staycation


When needing some getaway time check in at the newly remodeled Marriott Lincolnshire. The resort’s 25 million dollar re-do has the excellent Spa at Lincolnshire, the really good Three Embers restaurant for breakfast and dinner, a nice, casual Wrights Brew& Bistro for lunch or dinner and a convenient Starbucks Café off the Lobby.

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort provides a relaxing getaway. Jodie Jacobs photo

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort provides a relaxing getaway. Jodie Jacobs photo

BTW, Three Embers replaced The Wharf with a fine menu of locally sourced dishes and a redesigned space that includes a wood-burning grill and a chef’s table. The butter has a wonderful, honey flavor from the chef’s on-site beehive and the pastry’s chef’s yummy rolls to spread it on.

Pack a swim suit to for a dip in the pool or hot tub. The pool entrance is nicely positioned near the rooms’ hallways and elevators so guests don’t have to walk by the lobby.

Don’t forget workout clothes for the redone fitness center or some laps around the resort. Rooms typically have a lake or golf course view.

If interested in good musical theatre and time allows, get tickets for the resort’s famed Marriott Theatre. Currently, “Ragtime,” is playing through March 18. Next is Oklahoma April 11-June 10, 2018, which celebrates the legendary musical’s 75th anniversary.

The theatre is connected to the resort on the main and second levels so it won’t be necessary to brave whatever nature is serving up outdoors.

Now, pick a date to escape. There are special deals for theatre, romance, spa and restaurants.


Groundhog Day prognosticators back on job Friday

Hope that it is cloudy this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.

It’s Groundhog Day so the critters known as  Punxsutawney Phil in the movie and in Punxsutawney, PA and called Woodstock Willie in Woodstock, IL where the famed movie was filmed, will take over the weather person’s job by predicting what to expect.

Sunny means the critter see their  shadow so  return to hibernation and winter will continue for six more weeks. Cloudy means no shadow so they remain out and spring will come early.

To wake Woodstock Willie from his winter hibernation, there will be a polka band playing somewhat similar to the band in the movie.

Woodstock Willie predicts the coming weather in Woodstock, Il where the Groundhog Day movie was filmed. Woodstock photo

Woodstock Willie predicts the coming weather in Woodstock, Il where the Groundhog Day movie was filmed. Woodstock photo

No matter what happens, the delightful movie co-written by Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin and starring Bill Murray as weatherman Phil Connors and Andie Macdowell as news producer Rita Hanson, is brought back to life, again.

In the Chicago area, movie fans can see it free in Woodstock at 10 a.m. Feb. 2-4 and walk the movie sites at 9 a.m. Feb. 2, noon Feb. 3 and 12:30 p.m. Feb 4.

Free walking tours of the movie sites begin at the Moose Club, 406 Clay St. Friday and Saturday and at at Stage Left Café, 125 Van Buren S. Sunday. Tours end at the B&B  where  Murray woke up each day. Called the Cherry Tree Inn, the place is a friendly destination and will host walkers with warm cider.

Lying northwest of Chicago, the town’s picturesque square appealed to Ramis who wanted to be within driving distance of his home in a Chicago North Sore suburb.

Woodstock celebrated 25 years from its filming there in 2017 but this year marks the 25th anniversary of its release in 1993.

So why a woodchuck or groundhog prognosticator? The story is that farmers who emigrated to the eastern US from Europe brought the legend with them because back home farmers thought spring was coming if they saw badgers.

Whatever the day’s prognostication, the movie is a joy and Woodstock is a charming town to visit.

For more information visit Woodstock Groundhog and Punxsutawney Groundhog.


January ends with rare lunar phenomenon


Put super blue moon or eclipse on your calendar for Jan. 31, 2018. That’s three unusual sky phenomena all happening on one day.

Supermoon that is also a blue moon will be eclipsed early morning Jan. 31, 2018. NASA photo

Supermoon that is also a blue moon will be eclipsed early morning Jan. 31, 2018. NASA photo

First, the moon will be at its second full phase showing in January, making it a blue moon (not color, just the old rare once in a blue moon saying).

Secondly, it will be a “supermoon”, meaning its orbit places it close to earth so it appears larger than other full moons.

Third, now hear the ta-das and horns? If you step outside really early on Jan. 31 and the sky is clear, you can witness a lunar eclipse. In the central time zone it begins about 5:48 a.m. That is when the moon will be moving into the Earth’s shadow where no sun can illuminate any part of the moon. Total lunar eclipse is about 6:52 a.m.

Find more information at EarthSky and NASA Lunar or NASA Eclipse.



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