The public celebration of St. Patrick's Day seems to get bigger every year, with Harford County celebrants both Irish and non coming out in droves to drink, dance or just partake in Gaelic-themed food.
While the holiday was once limited to specifically Irish sites, today many other bars, restaurants and other venues are taking advantage of the St. Patrick's Day tie-in to boost business.
Places like Venetian Palace, a Greek-themed restaurant off Route 40 in Edgewood, are advertising the holiday and serving up St. Patrick's Day-esque dishes.
The Edgewood restaurant will have specials like corned beef and cabbage and ham and cabbage, as well as $1.49 draft beers, from today (Friday) through Monday.
The business is also looking "pretty green," owner "V" Hapsis said.
While Irish musical groups have been known to stop by the county, now even tourist attractions and educational facilities try to get in on the St. Patrick's Day action.
The Anita C. Leight Estuary Center is promoting a "To Catch a Leprechaun" program Saturday, in which attendees can create their own gardens to, perhaps, lure in the mythical creatures.
The program will run from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Abingdon facility.
The Steppingstone Farm Museum near Havre de Grace is adding a Celtic Traditions tea to its series of Sunday afternoon teas, held at the Quaker Bottom Road institution for the past year.
"This is our first St. Patrick's Day," volunteer Maryellen Kosydar said Wednesday. "This is our first alternative for women who want to celebrate the holiday and their Irish heritage but don't want to do the bar scene."
St. Patrick's Day in the U.S. is not about being Irish, "it's about drunkenness," Kosydar noted.
For persecuted Irish immigrants, "this was a way to celebrate their heritage and be proud of being in this country," she said. "I don't think they would be pleased with what they [celebrants] do now."
The Celtic Traditions tea will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday. It will feature re-enactor Alisa Dupuy speaking about traditions of Ireland.
Several businesses also are attempting to make St. Patrick's Day, falling on a Monday this year, into a four-day weekend.
Looney's Pub and MaGerk's in Bel Air are both having multi-day celebrations.
Looney's, which began setting up two large tents on its parking lot this week, is trying to one-up itself by offering a five-day event, "Maryland's largest St. Patrick's Day."
Looney's seems to be the only area bar to promote a post-St. Patrick's Day event, with "Dude, Where's My Car Tuesday?" on March 18.
The day-after will feature $2 Irish coffees, Irish Crushes and Bloody Marys from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.