7 ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the Chattanooga area

Of course you'll be wearing green Thursday, but what else can you do around Chattanooga for St. Patrick's Day? Here are seven ideas, some borrowing from broader Celtic traditions. This sampling includes plenty of revelry but also widens the search to topics of interest to families, gardeners and history buffs.

1. See Rock City's green waterfall. The 100-foot High Falls at Lover's Leap is a signature feature at the Lookout Mountain, Georgia, attraction, but especially around St. Patrick's Day when the water flows green. If you wait until the weekend, you can enjoy Shamrock City events as well, including Irish food, beer, music and pop-up dance performances. seerockcity.com

photo Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Visitors look at the green waterfall in Lookout Mountain, Ga., during Shamrock City, Rock City's 14th annual Irish celebration and festival on March 13, 2022. The event continues March 19-20, 2022, and features Irish food, music and other entertainment.

2. Follow the Alhambra Highlanders Pipes and Drums. Founded in 1934, the ensemble has 20-plus stops scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Among them are the St. Patrick's Day in the Choo Choo Gardens concert, also featuring Ashley and the X's, the Red Rogues and the Evan Kennedy Trio, at 6 p.m. Thursday, and the Pub Crawl of downtown bars, which kicks off at Mellow Mushroom at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Facebook.com/AlhambraHighlanders

3. Party on the Parkway. This is the seventh year for this event at Patten Square. Nine bands are scheduled to play on two stages, one inside The Honest Pint, 35 Patten Parkway. Tickets are $15 in advance, $25 day of. Proceeds will benefit SoundCorps. parkwayparty.com

4. Feast on Irish food and drink. Just as "everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick's Day," all bars would seem to be, too, so you'll likely find drink specials at most any pub you frequent. For an authentic experience, try The Leapin' Leprechaun Pub & Eatery, 100 Market St., which celebrates all things Irish every day of the year. Owner Brendan O'Doherty is of Irish descent - his father hails from County Donegal in northwestern Ireland - and the menu reflects his ancestry.

5. Brush up on your bartending skills. Want to learn how to make your own drinks for an at-home party? Kaleena Goldsworthy of The Bitter Bottle will show how to make three themed cocktails in a class at 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Chattery. Cost is $35. thechattery.org

6. Search for shamrocks. You probably won't have to look far, according to Byron Brooks of Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center.

"The common white clover (Trifolium repens) - the one most folks have in their yards - is an exotic species, introduced to North America by European settlers," Brooks said by text message.

A native clover (Trifolium stoloniferum) is a federally listed species.

"Both of those would fit the colloquial definition of shamrock," he said. "Reflection Riding has the former - as does every Chattanooga lawn - but the latter is rare."

You can always keep shamrocks as houseplants. In a phone interview, Kim Bonastia, manager of Signal Mountain Nursery, said the nursery stocks two varieties. Iron Cross has green leaves and a purple cross in the center. Oxalis lavender has purple foliage.

She considers them one of the "holiday houseplants" that cycle through the year. For many customers, buying shamrocks in March is "like buying an Easter lily or a poinsettia at Christmas," she said.

photo Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / White clover, or trefoil, grows in an East Brainerd yard in May 2021. Finding a four-leaf clover is considered lucky.

7. Attend History Happy Hour. Siema Swartzel, a music teacher at Arnold Elementary in Cleveland, Tennessee, will share stories about Irish music, Appalachia and her travels to Ireland in a program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland.

"Music is so central to their culture," she said by phone. "In Ireland, music is as important as athletics is to us."

She'll bring at least 10 bodhrans (Irish drums) for attendees to play. Cost is $15 for members, $25 for nonmembers. museumcenter.org

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

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