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SPECIAL EVENT | St. Patrick's Day Events 

Some people don't need need any help figuring out how to spend St. Patrick's Day. It's a two-step process: get with your friends, then head to a bar. The rest is blacked-out history. The only dilemma is how to handle the morning after. Should you call in sick for work in advance, or try to rough out your Monday with a hangover?

But for others, St. Patrick's is more than an excuse for an all-day binge. They want to celebrate the day and actually remain sober. They want to find activities that the whole family can enjoy. Or maybe they just have something really important to do on Monday morning. Fortunately, there are several safe, sober ways to enjoy the ostensibly Irish holiday, with special events spread across the whole weekend. Call it the luck of the Irish, if you will.

On Friday, March 15, the Catholic Family Center will hold its annual St. Patrick's Day Gala at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center (123 E. Main St.), from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. This year's gala will honor the refugee-aid organization Saint's Place, and its executive director, Colleen Knauf, with the Catholic Family Center Award. The evening will also include cocktails, dinner, dancing, entertainment, and a live auction. Tickets for the gala are $200 per person, $250 for patrons, and can be purchased through cfcrochester.org or by calling 262-7020.

There's no bigger celebration locally than the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, which regularly draws more than 200,000 visitors. This year's parade will be held on Saturday, March 16, starting at 12:30 p.m. The parade kicks off at the corner of East Avenue and Alexander Street, and then continues down East Avenue and Main Street, ending at Plymouth Avenue. The free parade will be preceded by other festivities, including the Running on the Green five-mile race, which starts at the Blue Cross Arena (1 War Memorial Square) at 9:30 a.m., and a Celtic Fair at the Radisson Riverside Hotel (120 E. Main St.) from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more info and the full schedule of parade events, visit rochesterparade.com.

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