Don your RAYGUN “Kiss me, I’m Iowish” t-shirt and get out in Des Moines on Thursday, March 17 as the city will be painted green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’ve got the whole day off, part of the day off or your joining the festivities after 5:00 p.m., there are enough Irish activities for lots o’fun throughout the day.
Start your day off by going to one of these local Irish-themed bars that are serving up breakfast and a plethora of green beer in the wee hours of the morning:
AK O’Connors - 4050 Urbandale Ave. in Des Moines
AK’s will kick off the day at 6:00 a.m. with green eggs and ham. At 2:00 p.m. a few bagpipers will visit the bar, followed by Brian Congdon at 3:00 p.m. and Tony Bohnenkamp from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. Other Irish fare, such as corned beef and cabbage, will be served from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Flanagan’s Irish Pub – 2120 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines
Start your day off at 7:00 a.m. with a $5 breakfast at Flanagan’s featuring: green eggs and ham, roasted red peppers and toast until 11:00 a.m. If you can’t make it for breakfast, the tent will open and serve barbecue pork, bake beans, corned beef, cabbage and potatoes until 8:00 p.m. From 6:30 – 11:30 p.m. enjoy the musical musings of Last Chance.
Sully’s Irish Pub – 110 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines
Hit up Sully’s from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. to indulge in green eggs and ham for only $1.02. After breakfast stick around to enjoy the heated tents, broadcasted music from Star 102.5, and food items catered by Hy-Vee. Bonus: This tent party has been around for 34 years… you’ll receive your green beer in a plastic souvenir cup!
After you’ve had your fill of green eggs and ham,
head on down to the Des Moines Social Club (DMSC) for a pre-parade brew. The Sideshow Lounge, located just inside the DMSC’s front door, will open at 8:00 a.m. and will serve up green beer and the Irish sounds of McKenzie Islanders Pipes & Drums. Sideshow Lounge’s drink specials will include: $4 Guinness, $2 draws of green beer and $6 Irish Car Bombs.
A little before noon, make sure you secure a spot along the annual Friendly Sons of St. Patrick‘s parade route. Since 1976, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick have put on their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade for all of Des Moines to see and 2011 will be no different. Parade goers and parade participants will dress in their best Irish garb and pack the streets of downtown Des Moines. This year, the parade will feature WHO-TV’s Erin Kiernan as the Grand Marshall. The parade starts at noon on 15th and Locust and will head east on Locust ending at the Embassy Suites, 101 E. Locust Street, where a public reception will be held from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
If you’d like to add some culture into your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, head to the 3rd annual “Irish Fest” at the State Historical Building (600 East Locust) from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Activities include: Irish and Scottish music from Four Shillings Short and the MacKenzie Highlanders Pipes and Drums, a traditional Irish Dance performed by the students from the Foy School of Traditional Irish Dance, and a Ceili dancing lesson with Janice Baker. There will also be Irish arts and crafts for children, body art by Leanne Otting, and the Weavers and Spinners Guild of Des Moines spinning and speaking about the fabrics of Ireland. To round out the event, you can learn about your Irish roots, listen to a presentation about the archaeological sites in Ireland, and take a look at the “Iowa & the Irish” historical exhibit.
If you’re still psyched about St. Patrick’s Day after the parade and Irish Fest, there are many other local Irish bars around the Des Moines area where you can get your last few green drinks:
- Mickey’s Irish Pub – 1800 N.W. 86th St. – Clive
- Paddy’s Irish Pub – 8675 Douglas Ave. – Urbandale
- The Dublin – 2307 University Ave. – Des Moines
- Mickey’s Irish Pub (downtown) – 206 Third St. – Des Moines
- Mickey’s – 50 S.E. Laurel St. – Waukee
- Mickey Finn’s – 7020 Douglas Ave. – Urbandale
Whether you’re truly Irish or you choose to be Irish “for the day,” there are plenty o’things to do in Des Moines on St. Patrick’s Day.
Impress your friends: The tradition of pinching someone who isn’t clad in green was started in the early 1700s, but it’s an entirely American tradition (no surprise there!). The legend goes: people thought that wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns - who would pinch anyone they could see. So, people started pinching those who didn’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day as a reminder that the leprechauns could see them.