By Amy Rea

Granted, March is lighter in festival offerings than other months. It’s a tough time of year — it might be 60 degrees outside, and it might be -30. Nevertheless, the month of March has a much-beloved annual holiday celebrating a famous saint. Oh, and there’s St. Patrick’s Day, too.

Twin Cities

St. Patrick’s Day festivities
March 11-17

We do love us some Irish whooping it up in the Twin Cities. Why wait for the 17th? On March 12, St. Paul’s Mancini’s hosts the Worst Irish Tenor contest. March 13, Miss Shamrock is crowned at O’Gara’s.

On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day parades will take place in St. Paul at noon; in Minneapolis, the parade starts at 6:30 p.m.

And, to make your St. Patty’s Day celebration even better, Metro Transit (along with the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Southwest Transit, and Plymouth Metrolink) is offering free bus rides from 6 p.m. and later on 3/17. Drink all the green beer you want, and keep yourself and others safe.

Besides St. Patrick’s, here’s an idea of what’s going on around the state.

The Winter Bluegrass Festival is on now through Sunday. Forget the cold outdoors. Warm up with lively bluegrass stage shows, instrument exhibits, dance workshops, even informal jam sessions.

New Ulm
Take a drive to New Ulm on March 1 for Fasching, a German Mardi Gras with music, dancing, costumes, and plenty of hearty German food and beer.

Subway’s annual Bedrace for Bridging takes place March 1st. Get your team of four (18 and over, please) and take part in mattress racing down the tube hill at Buck Hill (mattresses provided). Dress up—there’s a costume contest. And a concert. The best part: proceeds go to Bridging, a local nonprofit that provides home goods (including beds) to families in need.

Wabasha’s beautiful National Eagle Center is host to Soar With the Eagles, taking place March 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23. These are weekends of everything eagle: river tours, book signings, talks from American Indians, naturalists, nature photographers, naturalists, veterans, river boat captains, speakers from the DNR Fisheries and River Ecology departments, and master falconers.

The International Festival of Owls takes place March 7-9. Owl calling, nest box building, foreign and native owl exhibits and discussions, pellet examinations, birding and natural history trip, pizza parties, kids’ activities—who knew owls could be so much fun?

Celtic Festival takes place March 8, with live music, storytelling, dancing, bagpipes, and plenty of Celtic food and hands-on activities. The festival takes place at the Hjemkomst Center, well worth a visit by itself.

St. Urho’s Days, a festival celebrating a faux saint who is said to have driven all the grasshoppers out of Finland (the country) and saved the grape crops, thus preserving the jobs of vineyard workers, takes place March 14-16 this year. Suspiciously, the official St. Urho’s Day is actually March 16, the day before that other saint’s day.

The Three Rivers Wine Trail offers Spring into Wine on March 22-23. Five wineries along the St. Croix, Mississippi, and Cannon River Valleys play hosts. Tickets ($20 in advance, $25 day-of) get you several wine samples along with desserts along the way. Note: A designated driver ticket is just $10.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.


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