This weekend starts a little early with an excuse to celebrate your inner 'Irish' (whether biological or simply spiritual).
St. Patrick's Day
What: Thursday's the day that you risk a pinching if you happen to have forgotten to dress in green. But on a more fun note, it's the day we all have an excuse to listen to a jig, sip a green beer and enjoy some stew.
- At the Needle Vinyl Tavern: Canadian bagpiper Spencer Murray (he can also play the Irish flute and tin whistle) will perform along with Pipeslinger, Murray's new project that brings together some of Canada's best young folk musicians, for a performance starting at 8 p.m.
- At the Metro: Watch The Leprechaun. It's a campy classic for a reason, and more than 20 years after my dad let me watch it unsupervised at an impressionable age, it still makes me nervous
- Go for a drink: Where Edmonton has this list of five perfect pubs to visit for a sip of festive spirit
And, if you're not able to get out on Thursday night, you still have three days to check out the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre at the Alberta Avenue Community Centre, where there will be daily shows and child-friendly ceilidhs through to Sunday.
Get your hands dirty
What: While we're still technically in winter, the warm weather and lack of snow have many Edmontonians "springing" into action. Luckily, there's an event for that: The Edmonton Home + Garden Show at the Expo Centre. All kinds of experts — including a couple of Canadian home reno celebrities — will be on hand to give tips and take questions, and booths shilling nearly every imaginable home or garden product will be set up. Tickets are $16, but can be purchased for a bit cheaper online.
When? March 17 to 20
What: It's supposed to be 7 C and sunny on Saturday, arguably the perfect conditions for throwing your costume-clad body across a pond of slushy water and hoping for the best. That's right, it's time for the annual Edmonton Ski Club Slush Cup, where prizes will be handed out for those who wear the best outfit and stay the driest. Away from the Olympic-sized slush pond, however, there will also be aerial displays for adrenaline junkies, as well as a rail jam, team race and tug-of-war. After dark, a torch light parade and Chinese lantern display are planned.
When? March 19 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fancy a feline?
What: The city's fanciest felines will all be under one roof at the Italian Cultural Center of Edmonton this weekend at the Cat Fanciers Club annual Spring Cat Show. Judging will be held both days, and organizers say the adjudicators will often explain why one cat ranked above another as they make their decisions. If you're more into furry friends than details, you can also wander through the exhibitors' hall to check out the cat competitors when they're not in the judging arena, and several local cat rescue groups will also set up adoption booths.
When? March 19 and 20
Take in a show
What: There's a lot of theatre going down in the city this weekend. Here are some of the highlights:
- Into the Woods: The Broadway hit show will run on Thursday and Friday nights only
- Romeo & Juliet: One of the greatest love stories of all time, as performed by the Alberta Ballet; shows run March 18 and 19 at the Jubilee
- Firefly Theatre presents Panache: Shows featuring "a flamboyantly courageous evening of satire and circus" run from March 17 to 20
- Alice through the Looking Glass: The children's classic ends its run at the Shoctor Theatre on Sunday
- A Picasso: The winner of the Critics Award for outstanding production at the 2013 Fringe Fest returns to the Varscona, with shows running through April 3
Odds and ends
- There'll be another E-Ville Roller Derby double-header at the Edmonton Sportsdome on Friday night
- Comedian Jeff Dunham will have the audience at Rexall in stitches on Saturday night
- Saturday is the International Day of Happiness in Edmonton
- GLOW: A Community Arts Lantern Parade will light the way through Boyle Street on Saturday in honour of the equinox
- Brides take note: The Original Bridal Swap is coming to Edmonton's Ramada Hotel on Sunday
- Seedy Sunday will be held at the Central Lions Seniors Recreation Centre