Green-themed road races, block parties with Irish music and green beer, and parades will be held this weekend in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
Most of the special events are being held today, even though Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day.
Corned beef and shepherd’s pie, dark Irish stout, and Irish music will be on tap in bars and restaurants today and Sunday throughout the Capital Region.
In Green Island, for example, the “Running of the Green” four-mile road race kicks off this morning in the village with more than 700 runners.
Katie O’Byrne’s second annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Road Race will start this morning in Central Park in Schenectady with hundreds running and some walking. Proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady.
The 63rd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Albany starts at 2 p.m. today from the corner of Quail Street and Central Avenue. The parade, with eight divisions, travels east merging with Washington Avenue then turns at Albany City Hall and goes east on State Street to Pearl Street.
There is also a St. Patrick’s Day Parade starting at noon today in North Albany.
Bartenders in Irish pubs, like Katie O’Byrne’s Restaurant and Bar on Wall Street in Schenectady, have learned the art of pouring the perfect pint of Guinness stout, complete with a shamrock carved into its head for St. Patrick’s Day.
Guinness stout is an Irish beer, first brewed in Dublin but now brewed in almost 50 countries around the world.
“You can’t be in a rush. You have to take it slow,” said Kelly Cowell, manager of Katie O’Byrne’s.
“You fill the glass half way and then let it settle,” she said about the dark brown stout beer. Then the rest of the pint glass is filled, topped with a half-inch pure white foam head.
“If you are going to do it perfect, it will take three to four minutes. Some bartenders put a shamrock on the head when there is time,” Cowell said.
At Katie O’Byrne’s at least six kegs of Guinness will be consumed this weekend.
At Pinhead Susan’s, an Irish pub at Liberty and North Broadway in Schenectady, manager Tommy McDonald said the pint glass has to be tilted at just the right angle as the stout is poured up to the level of the Guinness harp insignia on the pint glass.
“Then you let it sit for a couple of minutes” and slowly add the remaining stout, McDonald said.
Both Katie O’Byrne’s and Pinhead Susan’s are hosting block parties today and tonight. The O’Byrne’s block party starts at 6 p.m. in an adjacent parking lot with two bands, grilled food and beer on tap.
Pinhead Susan’s block party on a closed-off section of North Broadway starts at 1 p.m. under a tent with live music, bagpipers, and a beer truck dispensing draft beer into the evening hours.
Whatever color beer — dark brown, amber or green — police across the region urge those drinking it to have a designated driver who just eats the corned beef and cabbage.
During the weekend the Ballston Spa Police Department has a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” public safety campaign.
“Drunk driving is dangerous, deadly and against the law — and it will not be tolerated in Ballston Spa this St. Patrick’s Day or any other day for that matter,” said Chief Charles Koenig.
The local police chief’s comments are echoed by the state police and other police agencies across the Capital Region.
Police urge those who plan to drink to designate a sober driver to get them home safely. There is also a free taxi program offered by the law firm Martin, Harding and Mazzotti. People can get a free taxi ride home by calling 1-800-529-1010.
The National Highway Safety Administration reports that more than 700 people were killed nationwide in accidents involving drunken drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holidays from 2006 to 2010.
At The Parting Glass at Lake Avenue and Henry Street in Saratoga Springs, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year.
Both Irish music performances tonight are sold out, said Alyssa Rose, a bartender at The Parting Glass.
On Sunday The Parting Glass will have a tent set up in an adjacent parking lot for any overflow crowd, live music, and lots of corned beef and cabbage and other Irish-themed foods to go along with the pints of Guinness.