Green Season

The luck of the Irish gets stuffed into a multicultural empanada every time St. Patrick's Day arrives in Miami. Cheap green beer specials always bring everybody to drink. In this town that means you're bound to find a St. Patrick's party where you hear just about every accent in the Americas. Consider yourself lucky if you find someone speaking in an Irish brogue or even a Boston squaaaaaahwk.

Accordingly this city celebrates in many ways. You might come across a Haitian event where the interpretation of St. Patrick has nothing to do with leprechauns and lucky charms. While the traditional myth has the saint driving all the snakes out of Ireland, vodou practitioners believe that he is actually a snake, and therefore worship the reptile. Needless to say you won't find any green beer during these ceremonies.

But in case you want to party in the traditional style, we've gathered a couple of different ideas.

You can get things started a few days before the actual holiday at noon, Saturday, March 13, at the Coral Gables St. Patrick's Day Festival. Local Irish will be doing up the City Beautiful in green at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park (2800 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables). Irish singer and harpist Tricianne Garrihy is featured with Avalon, a group that will be playing contemporary and traditional Irish sounds. Paddy Kelligan jams with Celtic Cross and Tipsy Laird croons Irish ballads. The St. Andrews Bagpipe Band, Irish dancers, and the Miss Colleen Pageant as well as face painting and an array of Irish food and booze promise to keep you in high spirits throughout the day. Entrance is free, but you'll have to pay for food and drinks. Call 305-949-8400.

If you really want to celebrate into the night on St. Patty's, nothing beats an Irish pub. And JohnMartin's Restaurant and Irish Pub (253 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, 305-445-3777) gets things going starting at 11:30 a.m. and lasting into the wee drunken hours of the morning Wednesday, March 17. At 4:00 p.m. neighboring Salzedo Street will be closed off to traffic for an Irish street fair. Rockers Kick the Cat and Celtic-influenced the Volunteers provide the sounds while you snack on fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish potato soup.

If boozing and chowing is not your first choice for a St. Patrick's celebration, you can catch Mick Moloney's Irish-American Music and Dance Festival. The revelry of jigs and reels, Irish dancers, and Gaelic songs comes to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). The party starts at 5:30 p.m. with a preshow Irish dinner. Tickets range from $15 to $30. An additional $7.50 is charged for the meal.

Whether you celebrate it in Spanish, Kreyol, or drunken gibberish, it's as good an excuse to get wild and lucky as any we can think of.

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Juan Carlos Rodriguez