We're willing to wager a few pounds, boy-o, that your eyes, Irish or otherwise, will be smiling in the days leading up to this year's celebration of St. Patrick's Day and on the actual drinking holiday. Or, at the very least, they're going to be a wee bit bloodshot. Given that the occasion falls on Tuesday, March 17, the bars of the Valley will offer several days of Irish-inspired drinking and decadence during the weekend before, as well as some massive merriment on the big day. However, they aren't the only ones who've got big plans for St. Paddy's, as two major concert festivals will take place, in addition to the usual selection of traditional and cultural events. All of this is covered in our annual St. Patrick's Day guide, which includes parties and places where one can grab some green beer, dance a jig, or celebrate the Emerald Isle in style. All events take place on Tuesday, March 17, unless otherwise specified.
Arizona Event Center
1300 S. Country Club Dr., Mesa
Brews from the Emerald Isle will be the focus of the St. Patrick's Day Irish Craft Beer Festival, which will feature 15 different microbrew and craft creations, as well as five kinds of Irish whiskey, a corned beef and cabbage buffet, and live music from Celtic and cover bands. Noon to 8 p.m., $60 per person. Call 480-779-7716 or visit www.flaniganentertainment.com
Brides of March
Better raid your closet or swing by the neighborhood thrift shop for a secondhand wedding dress if you plan to join the urban pranksters of the Arizona Cacophony Society during this annual bar crawl on Saturday, March 14. The gonzo event, a mix of madcap fun and matrimonial shtick, involves both men and women sporting white frocks and finery as they drink their way through downtown and Central Phoenix with many stops along the light rail. The event starts at noon at Charlie's, 727 West Camelback Road. It's free to participate, but wedding-themed outfits are required.
Bud's Glass Joint
1021 N. 1st St.
Customers can get a 17 percent discount if they're wearing green. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 602-258-1500.
Fort McDowell Casino
10424 N. Fort McDowell Road, Fort McDowell
The rockers of Keltic Cowboys will get the energy going inside the Lucky 7 Saloon from 2 to 6 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, followed by a set by country crooner Duane Moore and the musicians of Mogollon from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Call 800-843-3678.
16705 E. Avenue of the Fountains, Fountain Hills
As is the tradition in Fountain Hills, the city's namesake 330-foot water attraction will be dyed green starting at 1 p.m. during the daylong St. Patrick's Festival taking place at the park on Sunday, March 15. This year's event will include arts and crafts, barbecues, vendors, an array of imported beers and wines, children's play areas, face painting, live music, and other all-ages attractions. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for those 21-and-over, free for everyone else. Call 602-319-9390.
Musical Instrument Museum
725 E. Mayo Blvd.
Get a taste of the Emerald Isle without leaving the Valley when the MIM hosts its annual two-day "Experience Ireland" extravaganza on Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15. The program will explore Irish music, arts, and traditions with a variety of all-ages activities. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Entry to the event is free with $10 to $18 museum admission with separate fees for certain events and activities. Tickets are $32.50 to $42.50. Call 480-478-6000.
Tempe Beach Park
54 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe
One of the biggest attractions during St. Patrick's Day season is the four-day Pot of Gold Music Festival, which will encompass Tempe Beach Park and serve up a blockbuster slate of bands, artists, and acts from a variety of genres. It kicks off on Friday, March 13, with performances by Bastille, Awolnation, Chromeo, Girl Talk, Bleachers, Future Islands, and Joywave. Gates open at 3 p.m. Day two, which starts at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, will be headlined by hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar and will feature Slightly Stoopid, Schoolboy Q, Dirty Heads, Kongos, The Expendables, Tribal Seeds, Grieves, and Aer. The weekend wraps up with music from Fall Out Boy, Rebelution, Milky Chance, New Politics, Echosmith, Big Data, and Knox Hamilton on Sunday, March 15. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. The final day of the festival on Tuesday, March 17, will be all about hard rock and metal, with Korn performing its self-titled debut album in its entirety with support from Godsmack, Chevelle, and Rite to Remain. Tickets are $49 each day. Visit www.potofgoldaz.com.
St. Patrick's Day Parade & Faire
It wouldn't be a St. Patrick's Day in Phoenix without a staging of this popular parade, which will roll through midtown starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 14, from Third and Sheridan streets to Margaret T. Hance Park. As in previous years, both the park and the adjacent Irish Cultural Center will host an afternoon-long celebration of Celtic culture with music, dancing, arts and crafts, beers, barbecue, vendors, and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and military members, and free for kids 12 and under. Call 602-280-9221.