Miami's Best Eats and Drinks This Weekend: The Fair and St. Patrick's Day

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This weekend's events include a whole lot of mega celebrations. We're talking big, brash soirees filled with plenty of food and lots of beer drinking.

If you've always dreamed of eating a 125-pound hot dog and washing it down with some cotton candy beer you don't need to be put on meds -- you just need to come out to the Miami-Dade County Fair, which offers both.

Looking for an excuse to celebrate St. Patrick's Day early (or have a boss who won't give you Tuesday off to eat corned beef and cabbage and drink beer)? There are plenty of St. Practice Day celebrations.

Weekend starts now!

See also: Miami-Dade County Fair Features Beer Haven, Traveling Beer Festival

Beer Haven at the Miami-Dade Youth FairThe Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo, also known as the Youth Fair, runs through April 5 at Tamiami Park and there's something for everyone. Rides, games, farm animals, and, our favorite, fair food. This year, why not try some of the new offerings like the Miami sundae, a parfait of mojo-roasted pork, white rice, black beans, onions, and plantains topped with fresh cilantro and paprika, or the sticky pig on a stick (two Krispy Kreme doughnuts stuffed with strawberry custard, dipped in chocolate fudge, and rolled in applewood-smoked candied bacon)?

You also have to check out the new Beer Haven area, which features a mobile brewery and 60 kinds of suds on tap -- many of them exclusive to the fair. On Saturdays, the Beer Garden hosts a weekly beer festival from 1 to 5 p.m. where $35 gets you unlimited beer samplings and bites.

Gates open at noon most days (3 p.m. March 12, 13, 18, and 19 and April 1 and 2). Admission costs $12; ages 5 and younger and 65 and older get in free. Admission is also free for active-duty and retired military personnel with valid military ID certain days. There are also many packages and discounts. For details on pricing or to purchase tickets in advance, visit fairexpo.com.

Coral Gables St. Patrick's Day Festival

The South Florida Emerald Society will host the 36th annual festival Saturday, March 14, at Ponce Circle Park. From noon to 6 p.m., enjoy Irish food such as corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, soda bread, and whiskey cake and a full bar. There will also be Irish crafts for sale and a Leprechaun Corner for kids. There's also plenty of entertainment provided by the St. Andrews Pipe Band, Celtic Cross with Paddy Kelligan, Michael O'Hara and the Breffni Dancers, and Irish singer Tricianne Garrihy.

St. Baldrick's and St. Practice Day at Fado Irish Pub

If you're looking to get a leg up on celebrating St. Patrick's Day, why not start with the St. Baldrick's Day fundraiser at Fado Irish Pub? On Saturday, March 14, at 5 p.m. watch a group of people get their head shaved in the name of charity. Why not grab a little liquid courage at the bar and join them? Proceeds benefit childrens' cancer charities and every shaved head helps Fado meet its $10,000 goal. Visit stbaldricks.org to sign up or pledge money.

On Sunday, March 15, Fado breaks out the green beer and Jameson for its annual St. Practice Day festival. From 2 to 11 p.m., enjoy live music, dancers, and plenty of beer. Thirty bucks gets you a Sunday Funday pass where you can purchase two-buck drinks. Get tickets at fadoirishpub.com.

Vagabond Sunday Brunch and Live Music by the Pool

The Vagabond Restaurant's chef Alex Chang has been landing praise for his innovative menu at the still-newly opened MiMo gem. Now, get ready to enjoy Chang's take on brunch, starting this Sunday, March 15, and every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Chang's menu will incorporate brunch favorites with a twist: think quail and waffles; yeasted waffles with plantain butter, mascarpone, and maple; and shakshuka with merguez sausage. Oh, and there are cocktails with cool names like Jersey Squirrel and BiBo Fizz. After brunch, head out to the pool bar and enjoy live jazz by Vinyl Boulevard. This is the most stylish Sunday Funday going.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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