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The Irish Experience Lives on in Indiana

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, thoughts turn to celebrating, and there’s plenty of that going on right here in LaPorte County. It seems everyone’s a little bit Irish on this holiday, which ranks fifth on the list of America’s favorites, according to the Thrillist Travel website. Indiana lays claim to plenty of Irish heritage. The Indiana Historical Society notes that during the 1850s, the number of Irish immigrants in the state almost doubled, and by 1870, almost 29,000 Irish-born immigrants resided in Indiana. Although that was a small percentage of the population, urban Irish residents are given credit for helping build modern Indiana, the society says.

Modern-day Festivities Start with Parade
Some special celebrations are on tap locally to note St. Patrick’s Day, starting off with Michigan City’s big St. Patrick’s Day Parade, stepping off from 10th and Franklin Streets at 1 pm on March 10th. The parade heads up Franklin and ends at 4th Street. Loads of great Celtic fun is in store, with several bands marching, including pipe and drum corps from Culver Academy, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, and Michigan City Orak Shrine, plus plenty of other parade fanfare.
The festivities continue through the day, with a magic show at the library after the parade and a movie downtown. Hop aboard one of the buses that will circulate among 10 restaurants and pubs throughout the afternoon and evening, where you’re “sure and begorrah” to find plenty of corned beef and cabbage, beer and Irish celebrating.

Concert with a Touch of Irish
The very next day, March 11, the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra presents a classic concert with an Irish twist at their Fantasia performance at 3 p.m. at the Holdcraft Performing Arts Center, 317 Detroit Street (Elston School) in Michigan City. The concert will feature a wide range of selections, starting with composer Korngold’s sparkling music to Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.
The concert moves on with Arthur Sullivan’s Symphony in E, nicknamed “Irish,” and Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Sir Henry Wood, a work with a distinctly British-Irish undercurrent. A highlight of the afternoon will be the touching The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, featuring music by Peter Boyer. The multimedia presentation will intertwine speeches each of the Kennedy men gave.
The performance will end on a fun and uplifting note. As the symphony plays rousing traditional Irish songs, the audience is invited to join in.

A Must-See Art Exhibit
And while it may not have an Irish connection, the current Birds and Bees exhibition now through June 2 at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, 101 W 2nd Street in Michigan City is a must-see. Ten distinguished artists share their personal interpretations and connections to birds or bees in a variety of forms. You’ll find colorful depictions in oil and watercolor, intricate black-and-white prints and drawings, photography and sculpture. One fascinating aspect of the exhibition is a mixed media display where visitors walk through a jungle-like setting that weaves images of plants and birds together in an explosion of color. In addition to celebrating birds and bees, the artists and the Lubeznik want to bring awareness of the environmental plight of these living creatures.

For more information on these events:
Michigan City St. Patrick’s Day Parade: www.michigancitylaporte.com/event/michigan-city-saint-patricks-day-parade/
Fantasia with the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra: www.lcso.net/concerts/fantasia
Birds and Bees at Lubeznik Center for the Arts: www.lubeznikcenter.org/Exhibits_Galleries/current.html

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