And now, class, here's your St. Patrick's Day quiz. The correct answers can be found at the end of this column.

Question one: St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. How did he end up in Ireland? A) His family emigrated from Britain; B) He was kidnapped and made a slave in Ireland; or C) He worked on a sailing ship and fell in love with Ireland during his travels?

Question two: Where was the very first St. Patrick's Day parade held? A) Dublin, Ireland; B) London, England; or C) New York City?

Question three: In Ireland, an important event took place in the 1970s that dramatically changed the way St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on the Emerald Isle. Was it that A) Residents were no longer required by law to begin the day in church; B) Irish pubs could legally stay open; or C) The law was changed so that residents were no longer required to cook something other than corned beef and cabbage for their St. Patrick's Day supper?

And finally, question four: This year's Dublin, Calif., St. Patrick's Day celebration marks an important milestone. Is this the A) 30th; B) 35th; or C) 25th anniversary?


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You know it's nearly St. Patrick's Day in Dublin when the local Party City moves everything green to the front of their store. So, after you buy your T-shirts, hats, glasses, noisemakers and other party supplies you'll be ready for what should be another fun celebration in our fair city the weekend of March 16 and 17.

As usual, green food coloring will be in play at fire station No. 16 (7494 Donahue Drive) from 7 to 10 a.m. March 16, when firefighters host their annual pancake breakfast fundraiser. It's always tasty and fun to see the looks of the little ones when they get to go inside a firehouse. This year's parade is again maxed-out on entries of floats, bands and assorted community groups and other marchers. It gets underway at 9:30 a.m. sharp.

The festival at Dublin City Hall will include more than 200 vendor booths this year, along with an international food court and lots of entertainment options. As I mentioned in my last column, the carnival rides have been moved to the parking lot in front of the west end of the Dublin Sports Grounds to make room for the soon-to-begin solar power project behind the library. Because of the carnival location, the rides will continue until about 6 p.m. March 16, even though the rest of the festival area will be closed.

Lastly, and new this year is the "Irish Tea Cottage," where attendees can enjoy a cup of tea and a scone while listening to a Celtic harpist and watching weaving and knitting demonstrations. This cottage, which will be inside the library, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 16 and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 17.

Here are the answers to the St. Patrick's Day quiz. No. 1: B -- St. Patrick was 16 years old when he was kidnapped and enslaved in Ireland. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland to introduce or expand Christianity. No. 2: C -- according to History.com, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick's Day took place March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. No. 3: B -- in modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day was essentially a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed March 17. No. 4: A -- 2013 marks the 30th annual celebration in our own Dublin, Calif.

Contact Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.