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Ways Bradenton can celebrate St. Paddy's Day

Bradenton isn’t well-known for its St. Patrick’s celebrations. But it can be.

In the spirit of the holiday, the city’s popular Get Down Downtown has been moved up to Wednesday so everyone can partake in the St. Patty’s day merriment.

That’s a good first step. But we could do so much more.

People say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, so why not learn from the best how to properly celebrate March 17?

Here’s a short list of what other cities have done to honor St. Patrick’s Day, followed by tongue-in-cheek ideas on what Bradenton can do to have more luck of the Irish.

What other’s have done:

1. The Chicago River is dyed green during Chicago’s St. Patricks’s Day celebrations.

2. In Savannah, Ga., the southern speciality of grits is served green on St. Patrick’s Day during a special breakfast just before the parade. Part of the tradition includes the ceremonial setting of grits on fire.

3. You can find the world’s largest, permanent shamrock painted in an intersection in O’Neill, Neb. — known as the state’s “Irish Capital.”

4. Hot Springs, Ark., is known for hosting the world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade along the world’s shortest street still in daily use. But there’s also more to love about the parade — it features “Irish belly dancers” and a group of Elvis impersonators called the “Irish Order of Elvi.”

5. Rolla, Mo., goes as far as painting the town green for St. Patrick’s Day. Well, maybe not the town, but the street. The town’s St. Pat’s Board hosts an annual street painting event where volunteers paint Pine Street green with mops on the morning of parade day.

Then there are the global traditions:

6. Kiss everyone who’s Irish or wearing green.

7. Shamrock shakes

8. River dancing

What we could do:

1. Dye the Manatee River green. Or perhaps Snooty, the manatee.

2. Serve “flaming” green grouper sandwiches.

3. Paint the world’s largest gecko on Manatee Avenue. Though geckos aren’t Irish per se, they are green, and there are plenty afoot in Florida.

4. Throw a parade featuring the Irish Order of Beach Bums down Barcarrota Boulevard.

5. Shine green lighting on all the buildings during St. Patrick’s week.

6. Pelt everyone who is not wearing green with green paint balls.

7. Green sweet tea.

8. Country line dancing, with a little Irish flare.

January Holmes, features writer, can be reached at 745-7057. Follow her on Twitter at @accentbradenton.

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