Preparations for the 31st annual St. Patrick's Day celebration are well under way. But I will admit I'm a bit nervous about the March 15-16 event.

You see, last year we experienced unseasonably warm weather, and as a result vendors ran out of beer to sell. This year, hoping to avoid a huge St. Patty's Day faux pas (not sure what the Irish equivalent is), they've ordered extra beer. So, does this mean the jinx is on and that it'll be 45 degrees and rainy? What, me superstitious?

Come rain or shine, it should be a great weekend. You can get all of the details at www.dublinstpats.com, but here are a few of the highlights and some changes you can expect to see.

The parade, which is the general kick-off to the festival, will keep the same route as last year and make its way along Amador Plaza, Dublin Boulevard, Village Parkway and Amador Valley Boulevard. It begins at 9:30 a.m. The festival itself runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza and will again feature crafts and food and drink vendors including Irish/Celtic-themed booths, which will be near the entrance.

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day in Dublin without green pancakes, and I'm happy to report that the firefighters at Station No. 16 (7494 Donahue Drive) will again open the firehouse doors for a fundraising breakfast beginning at 7 a.m.

There's been some minor rearranging of the festival grounds this year. The main stage, which features Irish dancers and more, has been moved to the parking area between the Dublin Library and the Little League fields. This was apparently done to relieve some of the overcrowding and congestion near the festival entrance. The Irish Tea Cottage, which was inside the library last year, has been moved to the Regional Meeting Room inside Civic Center. And if you're in need of a little break from the hectic action, there's also going to be a Celtic harpist playing inside the entrance to the library.

For those looking not to hassle with finding a parking spot in the industrial area north of Civic Center, there will be a bicycle valet, staffed by the East Bay Bike Coalition, in the middle of the Civic Center. Organizers are expecting about 2,500 participants in the March 16 Dublin Shamrock 5K Fun Run -- for which you can still register.

And, for you environmentally-minded individuals out there, I thought you would appreciate an interesting stat. The goal of the festival is to have a 75% diversion rate from landfills. That means cans, bottles, paper and cardboard all get judiciously recycled. Last year, the city — with help from local Boy Scouts and others -- hit 77%, and are hoping to achieve just as high a percentage in 2014.

Sláinte!

Shout Out: And finally this week, a big roar for the Dublin Lion's Club.

The organization is very active in the city of Dublin, but isn't out there tooting its horn and doesn't get as much appreciation as I think the members deserve. The Lions are involved in a ton of activities, ranging from the massive job of putting together the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, to recognizing Dublin High students for their academic and community excellence, to countless volunteer projects and even to hosting and cooking the annual Dublin High Senior Breakfast.

This year, breakfast organizers are expecting 600 students and faculty. That's a lot of eggs and volunteers who are giving back to our community.

Thanks to all the Lions, including its current officers: Bill Burnham, president; Rick Raymond, first vice president; Steve Jones, secretary; and Lee Thompson, treasurer.

Contact Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.