March may have come in like a lion, but it's not going out like a lamb. We've got parties stacked up like container ships outside the Port of Oakland.

Montclair's Saint Patrick's Day celebration kicked off our own version of March Madness.

It was the perfect mix of generations, from school kids to seniors. It was smart thinking, too, to keep a section of La Salle Avenue closed for a beer garden. Too bad there was a pothole right in the spot where kids were trying to ride their scooters. Still -- a good time was had by all.

Another big party comes to town this weekend. Sunday is the third annual Oakland Running Festival. The timing couldn't be better for Montclair. Some 8,000 runners are due in Montclair Village around 8 a.m., adding to the buzz of the Sunday Farmer's Market. The Skyline High Jazz Band will also play to mark the occasion. To see the race route and more, check out www.oaklandmarathon.com.

Finally, don't forget the big floppy-eared fellow comes March 31. The Easter Bunny makes an appearance at the Montclair Lions Club's annual Easter Egg Hunt at 9 a.m. Easter Sunday in Montclair Park. Thanks to the Lions for keeping this sweet family tradition alive.


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History repeated: Montclair's head librarian is looking to the past for some new "acquisitions." Lynne Cutler has volunteers scanning old photos and copying newspaper clips from the Oakland History Room to create binders of Montclair's history.

"We did print and frame a 1930 photo of the library, which now hangs over the front entryway," she said. And she's also made a copy of the Hillside Gardeners' binder, including photos of the landscaping they've done at the Montclair Library.

Complaint department: Crime continues to be the number-one problem in the hills, but lately, you can add barking dogs to the list. The two seem connected as more people use canines to protect their homes. The problem, as I've mentioned before, is that dogs bark obsessively when left alone all day. According to one neighbor on Merriewood, dogs are barking at anything that moves -- from squirrels to bicyclists. That kind of noise could drive a homebound neighbor nuts.

On stage: Three Oaklanders have parts in the new production of "Guys and Dolls" at the Berkeley Playhouse. Matthew McCoy, Louise Barcellos and Simone Olsen-Varela have been putting in long hours on stage for this oddball romantic comedy. If you've never been to this Julia Morgan theater -- it's a neighborhood jewel. Guys and Dolls runs through April 28.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.