TRAVERSE CITY — St. Patrick's Day celebrations start early this year.
• Festivities begin Wednesday, March 14, when the Irish group Slide performs at Sleder's Family Tavern, 717 Randolph St. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; for more information, call 947-9213.
• The Lucky Leprechaun Ball is scheduled for 7-10 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the City Opera House.
The all-ages event includes music by Song of the Lakes and the Young Sullys, as well as the "Danny Boy" singing competition. Finalists will be competing for a $300 first prize in the adult division, a $500 college scholarship in the junior division and a $300 first prize in the group division.
The three finalists in the junior division are Marie Laird, Sage DeAgro-Ruopp and Madison Hertel, all of Traverse City. Jenna Elsenheimer, 12, of Traverse City, is the People's Choice winner and also will perform.
Ed Michael and Scott Carter are finalists in the adult division.
There will be a "last call" for new contestants beginning at 6 p.m. New contestants need a ticket to the ball.
Money raised goes to the Father Fred Foundation.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, available at www.cityoperahouse.org or by calling 941-8082. Eight-top tables are available for $200.
• The annual pub walk is Friday, March 16, beginning at noon at Minerva's in the Park Place Hotel. Other stops include Bubba's, U&I Lounge, Union Street Station, Bootleggers, Dillinger's Pub, Brady's, the Blue Tractor Cook Shop, Firefly and finally, from 10 to 11 p.m., the Loading Dock.
• Then, on the big day itself, Saturday, March 17 — or "The Highest of Holy Days," as the Ancient Order of Hibernians calls it — there's a parade, singing and more.
The pre-parade gathering begins at noon at North Peak Brewing Co. and the parade starts at 1:30 p.m. Staging is along Hall Street, then marchers turn left onto Front Street, right on Pine, left on State, left on Park, left on State and return to Hall Street.
Post-parade entertainment by Song of the Lakes and The Wild Sullys is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. at Kilkenny's Irish Public House (under North Peak).
Other St. Patrick's Day events in the area include:
• Funday Sunday at the Great Lakes Children's Museum March 11 is all about Ireland, with music, stories and crafts. The program is offered at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Cost is $6 per person; www.greatlakeskids.org.
• The Kerfunken Irish Band performs for free in the Interlochen Village Sunday Music Series March 11, 3-4:30 p.m., at the Golden Fellowship Hall, next to the Interlochen Public Library, 9700 Riley Road; email email@example.com.
• The Pleasant Valley Community Center in Arcadia is serving St. Patrick's Dinner Thursday, March 15, 6 p.m. There will be corned beef, boiled cabbage, potatoes and carrots, salad, corn, rolls, desserts and beverages for $9.50 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for kids 5 and younger; go to www.pleasantvalleycc.org or call 889-7069 for more information.
• The Leapin' Leprechaun 5K is Saturday, March 17, 9 a.m. in the Warehouse District. Racers will receive a shirt, medals for the top finishers and best Irish costume and beverages (beer for 21 and older). The event is organized by the National Cherry Festival. Entry fee for runners is $30 before March 15; $35 March 16 and 17. For more information or to register, go to www.cherryfestival.org.
• The Cherry Blossom Ramblers will perform at free St. Patrick's Day concert at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 17, at the East Bay Branch Library, 1989 Three Mile Road; 922-2085, www.tadl.org/eastbay.
• Omena is hosting a St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday, March 17, beginning at 3 p.m. Parade-goers should arrive at Isthmus Road between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m. Knot Just a Bar will serve Irish food and have Irish music after the parade.
• The Northern Michigan Cultural Center is hosting a history class on St. Patrick's Day Saturday, March 17, from 3 to 5 p.m., at 545 E. Eighth St. There will be crafts and traditional foods; suggested donation is $5; call 313-6910 for more information.
• Finnegan performs at Sleder's Family Tavern, 717 Randolph St., Saturday, March 17, 5-9 p.m. The duo plays Irish traditional music on concertina, pennywhistle, bouzouki, mandolin, guitar and bodhran, as well as dance jigs and tell jokes. Sleder's will be serving corned beef and cabbage throughout the day. The concert is free. For more information, call 947-9213.
• There will be a St. Patrick's Day concert Saturday, March 17, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the AuSable Artistan Village Art Gallery, 219 Michigan Ave. in Grayling. Admission is $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers and includes Celtic and Celtic-inspired music by Kelly Shively, Pam Luce and Dan House.