Top Family-Friendly Activities In Connecticut For St. Patrick’s Day 2014

March 7, 2014 8:00 AM

St. Patrick’s Parade (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

There are many ways in Connecticut to celebrate being – or wanting to be – Irish around St. Patrick’s Day. There are options from watching parades to participating in charity walks and runs, to taking lessons in Irish language, dance and music – and of course eating like an Irishman or watching a play about being Irish in America. Connecticut has all of that and more to offer to families that want to learn about or be Irish for a day in March.

Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Main St. and Central Row
Hartford, CT 06103

Date: March 15, 2014 at 11 a.m.

Who doesn’t love a parade? Many communities across Connecticut honor St. Patrick’s Day with a parade, but the one that marches through Hartford is the big one. This year it will be held on Saturday, March 15th, and as always starts at the glistening golden-domed State Capitol, winds its way around Bushnell Park and ends at the grand memorial Soldiers and Sailors arch. There are seats at different spots along the square-shaped route, but viewers should plan on coming long before the parade kicks off at 11 a.m.

12th Annual Shamrock Run and Walk
Chippens Hill Middle School
551 Peacedale St.
Bristol, CT 06010
(860) 585-8649

Date: March 22, 2014 at 9:15 a.m.

Exercise can be fun, especially when a family does it together in support of a worthwhile charity. While not every member of every family can complete a five-mile or even two-mile run, even those families with little kids and the elderly can participate in one of the many charity events that form the annual Shamrock Run and Walk in Bristol. The 12th annual St. Patrick’s Day event will be held this year on March 22, the Saturday following the saint’s day. There is a five-mile and a two-mile run, a two-mile fitness walk and even a “Kids Fun Run” to choose from. The organizers do all they can to attract every member of the family to this charity event, even going so far as to note that “strollers are welcome!” Most events start around or shortly after 9 a.m. Free t-shirts are given out to the first 3,000 pre-registered runners and walkers, and the fees, which range from $5 to $25, are used to support the St. Vincent DePaul Society and the shelters it runs for women, children and the homeless.

Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center
6 Lake Ave.
Danbury, CT  06813
(203) 739-0010

What better way to get into being Irish than to learn the language or the dances of the Emerald Isle? Or how about taking the family to a traditional Irish “Seisiún”- or folk music concert? The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center offers classes in both Ceili dancing and the Gaelic language, year round, and holds a Seisún the first Sunday of every month. It also hosts many other Irish-themed events, including its annual St. Patrick’s Day Ball – held this year on Saturday, March 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. There are also classes in playing the fiddle, flute and tin whistle, as well as weekly step dance classes and monthly meetings of the Irish book and the Irish movie club.

Related: Top Go-Kart Racing in Connecticut

The Playwright
1232 Whitney Ave.
Hamden, CT 06517
(203) 287-2401

Date: March 16-17, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day begs for corned beef and cabbage and good beer (and not that swill with the green dye). Irish food, however, is about more than just cabbage and corned beef, as the proprietors of the Playwright Irish Pub demonstrate daily. The food is not the only thing that’s Irish in this authentic Irish pub. There is also live Irish music three nights a week, provided by such local Gaelic groups as the Jolly Beggars and the Ale Hounds. On Monday, St. Patrick’s Day itself, as well as the Sunday before, the pub hosts a day-long party, with live music and its full menu of both American and traditional Irish foods, from “Bangers and Mash” and Shepherd’s Pie to Whiskey BBQ Burgers – with the whiskey in the sauce being Irish, of course.

‘The Crimson Thread’
Seven Angels Theatre
Historic Hamilton Park Pavilion
1 Plank Road
Waterbury, CT 06705
(203) 757-4676

Date: Through March 16, 2014

The Irish are famous for their music, language, dance and beer – but also for their plays. The Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury is presenting one of the best of those in early March, with final performances running through the weekends leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.  Tickets are still available for performances through March 16 of “The Crimson Thread,” a play by Mary Hanes about a family that grows up on a poor farm in Ireland and then crosses the Atlantic to settle in New Bedford, Massachusetts and eventually in New York City. It follows three generations of Irish sisters, and tells the story of being Irish in America from 1869 through 1911. Hailed for its wit, wisdom, humor and warmth, it is the perfect introduction to what it means to be Irish.

Related: Top Playgrounds In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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