Get Off The Couch: Circus and St. Paddy coming

LISA DENTON: Barry, if you've ever thought about running away and joining the circus (and I know of someone who has), your chance is coming this week. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to McKenzie Arena for seven performances Thursday through Sunday.

Running away with the circus worked out OK for Robert Pattinson in "Water for Elephants," but the plan might have some hitches. Like: How strict are they about stowaways? How many sequins can one man wear? Will your trapeze fit in your suitcase?

BARRY COURTER: I like circuses well enough, but never fancied running away with one. I figure I'd either be volunteered as the Human Cannonball or for elephant cleanup duty. And clowns creep me out if they get too close.

This might not be the best week to run away in any case. There is a lot on the schedule, especially if you like music and/or green beer. Actually, nobody likes green beer, but St. Patrick's Day is next Monday and, well, you know.

LISA: It does seem like event promoters have suddenly discovered St. Patrick's Day this year. On Saturday, there's the St. Paddy's Day Pub Crawl at four downtown bars, culminating in the Party on the Parkway, a separate event at The Honest Pint. And there's a family-oriented St. Chatty's Day Parade debuting at noon Saturday on the North Shore. Proceeds from all three events go to charity.

And Rock City will wind up its Shamrock City celebration Saturday and Sunday. With apologies to Kermit the Frog, it should be easy being green this weekend.

BARRY: If you ever need proof that folks can and do find a reason to throw a party, St. Patrick's Day is exhibit A and B. It helps that the weekend offers even more opportunities.

And if all that Irish music leaves you reeling, there is plenty of other live music in town this week. Switchfoot is at Track 29 on Thursday, and Jason Isbell is there on Saturday. The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera is presenting a concerto by Beethoven and a piece by Prokofiev on Saturday. And the Old-Time Fiddlers Convention is Saturday at Lindsay Street Performance Hall.

LISA: That's a cool event - an all-acoustic show/contest for five categories of old-time performances: fiddle, banjo, dance, song and string band. These conventions used to be a big deal in Chattanooga before World War II. A tip of the bowler hat to local musician Matt Downer for spearheading this revival.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.