If you are lucky enough to be in Myrtle Beach around St. Patrick's Day, spend it by celebrating the luck of the Irish at one of several events planned on the Grand Strand.
Although St. Patrick's Day falls on Tuesday, March 17, festivities are scheduled days in advance if so you have lots of opportunities to enjoy some corned beef and cabbage and wash it down with a few green beers. Or if you are really in the holiday spirit, pack plenty of green clothes and hit several events. Here are the top five places for St. Paddy's Day parties:
* North Myrtle Beach St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival: Hit the streets of North Myrtle Beach for this 27th annual parade down Main Street and party in the Horseshoe. Attendees line the sidewalks and watch the 9 a.m. procession of floats, classic convertibles and marching bands. Live music by local and regional acts take the beachside stage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and vendors offers arts and crafts and Irish food and drinks. Bring plastic bags for the kids to keep the candy they catch, and don't forget lawn chairs unless you plan on dancing the day away. The after-party spills over to the shag clubs on Ocean Drive and Flynn's Irish Tavern on Main Street.
* Ocean Boulevard Myrtle Beach St. Patrick's Day Celebration: Downtown Myrtle Beach takes two days to squeeze in all the fun along the Boardwalk and Promenade. From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Irish food and beer vendors are set up along the closed strip of Ocean Boulevard, the festival also attracts regional and national touring acts to the main stage, headlined by the Delta Saints. A Kids Zone gives the little ones a place to play games, visit the petting zoo and bounce in the inflatable play area. From noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, it's time exercise your right to rock and to vote with the inaugural Battle of the Bands, featuring local and regional acts dueling it out for the right to be the headline act for Hot Summer Nights. Be sure to hit the after-party at nearby Bumstead's Pub.
* IrishFest: Market Common hosts this sixth annual event on Saturday at Valor Park, where Irish food and beer booths and arts and crafts vendors set near the main stage. That's where live music and entertainment are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., along with special activities just for kids. Although they’re not exactly considered Irish activities, an oyster roast and classic car show are two of the festival’s biggest draws.
* Irish restaurants and pubs: With so many events scheduled for the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, you might be all partied out by Tuesday. That's too bad, because the green beer will be flowing all over town on the actual date of the holiday. Popular Irish pubs like Molly Darcy's, O'Keefe's, Finn McCool's and many more host special events all day and night. Irish-themed restaurants like Beef O’Brady’s, Quigley’s Pint & Plate and Fibbers on the Water will serve corned beef and cabbage and other traditional Irish favorites.