DUBLIN -- The city is ready to welcome a massive green crowd on March 15 and 16, revelers ready to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
In addition to the annual parade, there will be a 5k fun run, music and dance, food and beer, carnival rides, craft booths and even an Irish tea cottage.
The celebration has become a trademark for Dublin because of the city's Irish heritage and because it attracts tens of thousands of attendees each year. Last year's festival set a new high for attendance when 73,000 people showed up, said Stephanie Mein, the city's recreation coordinator.
"It's just a great way for the community to come out and celebrate our significant Irish history," she said. "This is our big one, our number one celebration (of the year)."
The main festivities are centered in and around Dublin's Civic Plaza at 100 Civic Plaza, near Dublin's civic center and library. But the event will kick off with a green pancake (yes, green pancake) breakfast at Dublin fire station No. 16 from 7 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 15. The charge is $5 per person.
Next will be the parade at 9:30 a.m. There are more than 80 entries and it will begin near the intersection of Dublin Boulevard and Amador Plaza Road. It will travel from Dublin Boulevard to Village Parkway and then down Amador Valley Boulevard.
The festival itself will have an international food court with a variety of Irish meals, including corned beef and cabbage. There will also be an Irish tea cottage with live knitting demonstrations, where visitors can sip tea and eat shortbread cookies next to a fireplace.
There will also be an Irish marketplace with more than 200 booths, many featuring Irish goods including kilts or hand-knit wool sweaters. There will also be three stages of entertainment, including traditional Irish music and dance, as well as carnival rides and games for all ages.
On Sunday, March 16, the city is hosting a Shamrock 5k Fun Run. It will cover a wee bit more than three miles and begins at 6815 Dublin Blvd.
The city's Irish heritage goes back to the 1840s, when a group of Irish-American pioneers came here via the Oregon Trail, becoming the first Americans to settle in the area. During the potato famine years in Ireland, citizens of the Bay Area's Dublin would work to raise money to bring their friends and family over here, said Dublin Heritage Park and Museum Director Elizabeth Isles.
"They called it Dublin because they were proud of what they were establishing here and to honor the capitol of their original country," said Isles.
For more information on events, visit www.dublin.ca.gov, or call 925-556-4500.
n7-10 a.m. Saturday (Green) Pancake breakfast at Dublin Fire Station No. 16 at 7494 Donohue Drive. Cost: $5 per person