St. Patrick’s Day comes on March 17, and while it’s all about celebrating Irish heritage (and, well, celebrating in general) there isn’t exactly an overabundance of authentic Irish culture. The parade is something, of course, but should you be desirous of a bit o’ bodhran, Uilleann pipes, fiddles and pennywhistles, you’d do well to attend the Savannah Irish Festival.
The 18th all–Irish event is full speed ahead for Feb. 12–14 at the Savannah Civic Center.
The first event, as always is a “cieli” – or “party,” in the Gaelic of old – in which there is music, and spirits, and plenty of dancing. For your $5 admission, you will be taught (as part of a group) the art of Irish folk dancing. It all starts at 6:30 p.m.
All the better to prepare you for the next few days in the Martin Luther King Arena. There are two stages, with continuous entertainment, kids’ fun ‘n’ games, Celtic cultural and history lessons, loads of vendors selling Irish–themed stuff, food and beverage.
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, and noon–7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.
The latter, of course, is Valentine’s Day.
Top o’the pops, entertainment–wise, is Belfast native Seamus Kennedy, a joke–telling, stage–owning, singing and storytelling fireball of an Irishman.
Also performing will be the bands Henri’s Notions, Slide, Legacy, Na Fidleiri, the Savannah Cieli Band and Roger Drawdy and the Firestarters. Savannah’s professional Irishman, the estimable Harry O’Donoghue, will appear as well.
Weekend admission is $12 per day, or $16 for the pair of days, and children 14 and under get in free. See www.savannahirish.org for more info.
Emily Saliers, one–half of the Decatur–based songwriting super–team Indigo Girls, is coming to Savannah Jan 22 and 23 for performances at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church’s Wesley Gardens facility on the south side. She’ll be playing, singing and talking with her father Don Saliers, the emeritus William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship, as well as the former director of the Master of Sacred Music Program at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.
The daddy/daughter duo has written a book, A Song to Sing, a Life to Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice, and their live show is called “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: A Musical Conversation.”
There are two performances: At 7 p.m. Jan. 22, and 9:30 a.m. Jan. 23 (this one is scheduled to last until 2:30 in the afternoon). Tickets, $35, are limited; see www.wesleymonumental to get all the registration info.
• Tybrisa Street on Tybee Island becomes the talk o’ the town Feb. 13; it’s the setting for the annual Mardi Gras Street Party, with entertainment by the Jeff Beasley Band, the All American All Star Dixieland Review and Brad Randell and the Zydeco Ballers. The Mardi Gras Tybee parade — a wild thing — begins at 3 p.m. and winds itself down Butler Avenue.
The event starts at noon, runs until 7 p.m., and admission is free.
Fannie’s on the Beach (912–786–6109) hosts a Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball the evening prior, with a parade king and queen to be chosen. Tickets for the Fannie’s event are $20 advance and $25 at the door.