Conjuring up the quintessential St. Paddy’s Day celebration traditionally includes drinking more green beer than seems logical (assuming there is, indeed, a logical amount of green beer to drink), digging out the old “Kiss Me I’m Irish” pin, and perhaps some funny plastic hats that seem right after so much green beer. But in Charlotte, the holiday tradition of effort before excess made oh-so popular by Turkey Trots and Jingle Bell Runs is becoming the norm when celebrating the yearly homage to all things Gaelic. Here's a guide to a handful of events that should be on your radar this St. Patrick's Day.
1.Shamrock 4-miler Presented by StoneCrest at Piper Glen
For 14 years the Shamrock 4-miler has been a Charlotte St. Patrick’s Day staple. Hundreds of runners race the out-and-back event down Ballantine Parkway. This year, Foal Liath provides lively entertainment with a mix of traditional Celtic tunes blended with modern-day rock riffs.
The chip-timed race ends with an awards ceremony giving prizes in multiple divisions. The St. Patrick’s Day party continues after the run with food and drink, and this year's beneficiary is Running Works, a group that uses the power of running build confidence and teamwork in the homeless population.
The 4 miler on March 14 begins at 8 a.m. and a 1 mile kids Leprechaun jog starts at 8:30. Parking for the event is in front of Regal Cinemas.
2. Get Lucky Dog Dash
Just as the name implies, this Get Lucky Dog Dash is for six-legged teams of two. The 5k race begins on Wednesday, March 11, at Urban Pet, who’s also supplying goody bags for canine competitors, and ends at Bulldog Beer and Wine , who’s offering plenty of beer specials for the human team members.
Registration is 6:30 p.m. and run begins at 7 p.m. Expect food from the Comet Grill, plenty of raffles, and more than a few pooches sporting their best St. Patty’s Day gear. The event is raising funds for the St. Jude Hero Program.
3. Celtic Festival and Concert at Latta Plantation
The athletic portion of this event is a little do-it-yourself. Start your day off with a self-guided run through the gently-hilled trails that weave through the historic Latta Plantation . The 16 miles of singletrack pass by Mountain Island Lake, providing a pleasant mental break as well as a good workout.
After the trail run, hit up the Celtic Festival and Concert at Latta Planation. The Festival is a more educational approach to St. Patrick’s Day with a multi-sensory lesson of the Celtic people through history. The day begins with traditional dance performances and Irish music. Historical reenactors, clad in period Celtic dress from medieval times through World War II, participate in demonstrations around the grounds of the 19th century plantation. Evening brings a concert of Celtic music. Food and local beer are offered throughout the day.
The festival, runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both March 14th and 15th and the concert begins at 6 p.m.
4. Green River Revival
The U.S. National Whitewater Center has mastered the art of fusing holiday celebration with outdoor adventure. The Green River Revival on Saturday, March 14, might be their finest example of this trend when combined with the Color Me Green 5k.
Every year the manmade river at the U.S. National Whitewater Center flows green in the background while an all-day music line up, that is almost too good to be free, keeps the party moving. Well, almost free. There is a $5 fee for parking.
As a perfect accompaniment to the party portion of the day the Pump House Biergarten, a covered, open-air craft beer bar and restaurant, is now open for business. This new amenity, which includes a new set of restrooms, is separated from other refreshment options giving a welcome relief from crowds that coalesce near the bar during big events.
Before the music plays and the beer flows, runners will tackle 5 kilometers of pristine single-track that surrounds the center. In a twist worthy of St. Pat, racers will be bombarded with green powder. True to its roots, the center uses an environmentally friendly dye (it’s all about being green after all). The Color Me Green 5k begins at 10 a.m. and awards are given for the runners most, and least, covered in green dye.
Music and festivities officially begin at 1 p.m. All the regular activities—rafting, zip-lining, climbing—will run as usual throughout the day. The center is usually pretty busy for this event, so it’s a good idea to get there early for a good parking spot.