Here in Muskegon we are extremely proud of our Irish roots and it really shows during the month of March!
Our county is teeming with Irish and Celtic themed culture, activites, music and fun. We’d like to highlight some of them here for you.
Muskegon Civic Theater presents the poetic drama “Women of Lockerbie” with dates running until March 2. The players on stage of the historic Frauenthal Center will transport you to Lockerbie, Scotland, during the aftermath of the crash of Pan Am 103. Word is not to forget your tissues while viewing this moving drama.
Did you know there is a Muskegon radio station that hosts an Irish music program? If you tune in to Muskegon 100.9 FM from 5-7 pm EST you will find that Muskegon “Sounds Like Ireland” every Thursday! The program is hosted by “Voice of the Michigan Irish Music Festival” Bill Marshall and is “jammers” full of jams to get you in the mood for March!
Hennessy’s is Muskegon’s local Irish Pub. On March 5th at 7:00 pm, you can join in the Monthly Traditional Irish Music Session. “Sessions” are informal gathering where musicians get together to play traditional “Trad” Irish music. If you own an instrument, grab it and join in! If not…they are just joyful to watch and tap you toes to! On March 8th Guinness joins Hennessy’s Irish Pub for custom Guinness pint glass engraving and samples.
On Tuesday March 11th let the dancing begin! Hackley Public Library presents “Ardan Academy of Irish Dance” at 6 pm. This staple in Irish Dance instruction has studios in Michigan, Ohio, Ontario and New York . Boasting several National and World qualifying dancers, they will be kicking up their heels in a free performance.
The Michigan Irish Music Festival presents their Annual St. Patrick’s Party on both Friday and Saturday evening. This event is held at Bella Marias Event Center and goes from 5:30 – 11:00 pm both evenings. The music will be out of this world! Featured headliners are West Michigan-native band CrossBow, who can be heard at Irish and Scottish music festivals across the Midwest. Apparent from the moment they hit the stage, these high-energy musicians naturally feed off of one another, creating a dynamic, wholly unique performance that shouldn’t be missed.. There are also performances by Detroit’s Brother Crowe, a Detroit-based duo that plays Indie folk music in a traditional Celtic style. And, Ardan Academy of Irish Dance will entertain both nights.
Of course there’ll be Irish eats by way of yummy corned beef, bangers and mash from McGovern’s Catering and more delicious dining options from Teddy Spaghetti. The Village Baker will be on hand with freshly baked Irish treats and pretzels. Don’t forget your checkbook! Their famous auctions will take care of your Christmas list early! Admission is $8; children 12 and under enter free.
There’s even MORE music at Unruly Brewing! The Leprecons are a wee little band that seriously has fun or funnily is serious about playing traditional Irish music. A rousingly good time is promised as they invite you to get your jig on and sing along with all your might. Unruly also opens at 8:30 am on Saturday to start this FULL day off with beer, coffee and snacks and a warm place to pre-parade.
Saturday morning gets a “running” start with Run Muskegon’s Shamrock Shuffle 5K. Held in Downtown Muskegon, this 5K encourages participants to dress fun and festively, even awarding three prizes for the best costumes. So put on your green tutu and running shoes and meet behind Fricano’s Event Center at 9:00 am.
How about a green breakfast? Bring your wee ones to the Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club for a breakfast of Green Eggs & Ham! The ladies are celebrating Reading Month and Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a delicious breakfast that includes a free Dr. Seuss book and visit from a Dr. Seuss’ character! The wee ones will also enjoy Gillette Nature Center‘s “All Things Green and Lucky Hike!” They can look for signs of spring, residents of the Hoffmaster woodland and a leprechaun! And just like the end of the rainbow, there’s a surprise waiting at the end of the trail.
Be sure to finish your breakfast or run by 11:00 am! This is when the 8th Annual Muskegon St. Patrick’s Day Parade is presented by the Greater Muskegon Jaycees, Hennessy’s Pub and Visit Muskegon! The parade marches down Clay St. between 4th and Jefferson in Downtown Muskegon. This is a fun, family oriented event with a great cause behind it! Entry fees to participate in the parade are non-perishable food items. Spectators are encouraged to dress for the fun and also bring non-perishables. All food collected during the parade is donated the local food pantry, Catholic Charities West Michigan.
The parade route ends just outside Hennessy’s Irish Pub and Muskegon’s Irish Pub has a full day of craic planned. Irish Fare & beverages will be accompanied by a frolicking music line up: Gypsy Circus from Noon – 3pm, Colton Snuffer 4:30-7:30 pm , and The Conklin Ceili Band 9:30 pm -12:30 am.
For the wee ones, Kitchen 242 in the Muskegon Farmers Market offers a Kids Baking Class. Kids will bake and take home a dozen Irish cupcakes they created themselves. Keep your baking apron on! Hackley Public Library has Shamrock Cookie Decorating from 2:00 – 3:00 pm. This program is free and all supplies provided by the library.
You should just plan to stay in Downtown Muskegon! Unruly Brewing will be celebrating the high holy day with Irish Costume Contest, performances from the Muskegon Police Pipe and Drum Corp (And by pipes, we do mean bagpipes!) the Mona Shores Fiddlers, Ardan Academy of Dance and some good Celtic Rock by way of the the Barley Saints.
Muskegon’s other local craft brewery, Pigeon Hill, has just released their MI Irish Stout. “Hop” in to the brewery and try a pint. Or find the foamy goodness at the Michigan Irish Music Festival St. Patrick’s Party. If you love it (and you will!) you can find cans to purchase in select stores. Check Pigeon Hills Facebook page for a list of locales.
Have a gander at the newly renovated L.C. Walker Arena when the Muskegon Lumberjacks face the Des Moines Buccaneers in exciting USHL style. Speaking of style, they will be sporting Shamrock Specialty Jerseys which will be available in an online auction over the weekend. Puck drops at 6:15 PM and green beer will be on tap!
At this point you should be tuckered out. A soak in a hot tub and good night sleep are in order. We recommend booking a room in one of our Downtown Hotels, Shoreline Inn and Conference Center or Holiday Inn; ask about the brand new rooms! Or, dive into the “Winter Promo” deal at Quality Inn & Suites Offers. Your $70 overnight stay includes breakfast, pool & hot tub, game room, arcade and evening snacks in the lobby! More cozy, clean Hotels are located near Michigan Irish Music Festival’s St. Patrick’s Party.
On St. Patrick’s Day proper, the Muskegon Irish American Society/Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame conduct their 45th Annual Raising of the Irish Flag! A brief ceremony, followed by the flag raising, will take place in the parking lot of Hennessy’s Pub. Then head inside for music from Uneven Ground Traditional Celtic Band (they are SO busy!) a four-piece traditional Celtic band that blends vocals and instrumentals, bringing their listeners on a unique musical journey. They will entertain from Noon- 3:00 pm. The Barley Saints, a five-piece Celtic rock band specializing in Irish pub tunes, up-tempo Irish folk songs, and fast-paced traditional dance tunes, take Hennessy’s stage at 4:00 pm.
Still going strong? Unruly Brewing has more Ardan Academy of Irish Dance performing two sets at 2:00 and 4:00 pm, Irish beers on tap, Irish music, Irish dancers, and Irish fun!
Don’t stop! Catch your breath and get ready to sing along to more Irish tunes! Uneven Ground will be carrying on the Irish cheer at Hackley Public Library, March 19th at 6pm. Before you hit the hay, pop online and snag your tickets to the 2019 Michigan Irish Music Festival during their 24 hour St. Patrick’s Day Sale. Get a 4 Day Pass for $30 and be Irish all over again in September!
Hennessy’s keeps the spirit going with a charitable twist. Monday, March 18th. The “Honor St. Patrick” event welcomes guest bartender Father Matthew Barnum, of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish and Our Lady of Grace Parish. Always a fun time, this event supports Catholic Charities West Michigan’s Muskegon Baby and Toddler Pantry, supplying parents in need with free diapers, wipes, clothing, etc. for their young children.
Later in the month, on March 22nd, keep the merriment going with Muskegon Civic Theater’s hilarious and interactive comedy “Flanagan’s Wake”. Immerse yourself in an Irish wake, as the villagers tell tales, sing songs and mourn the passing of one of their own, Flanagan. The wake will be at Clock Funeral Home…when have you ever watched a play in a Funeral Home?
Toast to a fantastic month at Hennessy’s Whiskey School. This month is appropriate with Irish Pot Still Whiskies! Father Jared Cramer will be sharing fun information behind the glorious selection and Chef David Grey is going the extra mile on accompanying food. This will be a class you won’t want to miss!
Last and certainly not least, a MUST see is Hackley Public Library’s copy of the Book of Kells. Only 1,480 facsimiles of this breathtaking illuminated manuscript exist in the world. The original, housed in Trinity College Dublin, is widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure. As far as we know, ours and the copy at Washington Centerville Library are the only available for public viewing in a library.
Information for all these events, and many more, can be found on our website www.visitmuskegon.org
“Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!” Visit Muskegon wishes you a happy and safe St. Patrick’s celebration and would LOVE to see your photos on social media!
Use our hashtags #visitmuskegon and #watchmUSkeGOnIRISH