It's that time of year where people all over America celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland by coloring their beer green and drinking a lot of it.
St. Patrick's Day started as serious religious observance in the Catholic Church that noted the patron saint of Ireland transforming the country from its pagan roots into one of the world's most thoroughly Christian countries. It has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish.
The holiday itself is Monday, but all over Manatee County the festivities get under way this weekend. Chances are you won't have to travel far to find a parade or a party.
Here's a round up of some of the most promising events.
Beach Bistro's St. Patrick's Day Parade/Sham Rockin' Festival
The Beach Bistro's 16th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade is set for 4 p.m. Sunday in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island.
The parade assembles at Holmes Beach City Hall at 5801 Marina Drive. It heads north along Marina Drive to Palm Drive, and then north on Palm to the corner of 78th Street.
The parade will celebrate with the usual dignitaries, cyclists, floats, dancers, high school bands and floats garnished with greenery. But any group that wants to join in is welcome.
Beach Bistro proprietor Sean Murphy says there's a "jumbo" surprise in this year's parade.
The parade assembles at 2 p.m. at City Hall. Anyone interested in participating should contact the Beach Bistro for information at 941-778-6444.
The parade is the centerpiece of a weekend-long St. Patrick's Day celebration on Anna Maria Island called "Sham Rockin'."
The festival runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sunday. There's live music, green beer and a kid's area at Homes Beach City Field, 5801 Marina Drive.
Saturday's music lineup includes Rick Quimby (5:15-6:15 p.m.), Jesse Sliger (6:30-7:30 p.m.) and Shotgun Justice (8-10 p.m.)
On Sunday, it's Trevor Bystrom (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) Scott Pritchard (1-2:30 p.m.) and Kettle of Fish (3-6 p.m.).Details are on the Island Festivals, Inc. Facebook page or call 941-536-4257.
Main Street Live street party/Shamrock 5K
In downtown Bradenton, Main Street Live, the monthly street party on Old Main Street, is moving to March 15 to celebrate the day. (It's usually on the third Thursday of the month.)As always, there's live music -- this time from popular are band Big Daddy -- and food and crafts vendors, and of course all the restaurants, pubs and bars along Old Main Street will be celebrating. It runs from 5 to 10 p.m.
Also in downtown Bradenton on Saturday is the Shamrock 5K and Pub Crawl. A timed 5K race starts at 4:30 p.m.; shorter races for kids start at 3:30 p.m.
There's a post-race party with green beer, food and refreshments for all registered runners.
The Pub Crawl, for people who aren't inclined to run 5 kilometers, offers a commemorative glass and a free shots at several participating downtown bars.
To register for the race or the crawl, go to www.active.com/bradenton-fl/running/distance-running-races/shamrock-5k-and-pub-crawl-2014. Registration closes today.
LWR Irish Celtic Festival
Lakewood Ranch hosts its annual Irish Celtic Festival is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in Central Park on Malachite Drive. Live entertainment is from the Celtic Misfit Band, Mountain Brew, the Braden River Pipers, the Drake School of Dance and New World Celtic Dance teams.
Besides the music and dance, the free festival offers tons of activities for kids including a scavenger hunt, face painting and potato decorating. There are also contests for adults, and vendors offering crafts, jewelry food and beverages.
Parking is free at Guillett Elementary School, 12125 44th Ave. E., with a free shuttle to the festival.Earlier in the day, there's a 5K race starting at 8 a.m., followed by a Lucky Dog Parade for canines and their owners. Go to www.lwrcac.com/irish-celtic-festival or call 941-757-1530 for information.
Clancy's St. Paddy's Day Bash
Since St. Patrick's Day falls on a Monday this year, most of the celebrations in the Bradenton area are over the weekend. The one major exception is the 14th annual St. Paddy's Day Bash at Clancy's Irish Sports Pub.
The festivities get going at noon and run deep into the night. The music lineup includes Jack Tamburin (noon-2:30 p.m.), Mark Anthony (3-5:30 p.m.), bagpipers (5-8 p.m.), Billy Rice (6-8:30 p.m.) and Bus Fulla Monkeys (8:30-11 p.m.).Traditional Irish food -- corned beef and cabbage, shepherds pie and the like -- will be available all day, along with burgers and dogs and other fare. The bash is free but it's only for adults (21 and over.)Clancy's is at 6218 Cortez Road in Bradenton. Call 941-794-2489 or go to www.clancysirishsportspub.com.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.