March brings basketball, beer, Irish festivities to Janesville area
For fans of college basketball, March Madness means tournament season.
For fans of spring, March Madness signals what we hope is the beginning of the end of the most dreadful winter in recent memory.
In either case, the arrival of March Madness is cause for celebration. Mix in St. Patrick's Day on Monday, March 17, and you've got even more reason to party.
This month offers several opportunities to kick up your heels. If you want to do that in the literal sense, get tickets to see Rhythm in the Night, an Irish dance production coming to Janesville on Thursday, March 27.
St. Patrick's Day isn't all about drinking, but beer does figure into at least two events this weekend.
Delavan's Lake Lawn Resort will offer its annual Craft Brews & Chicago Blues Festival from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the lakeside resort, 2400 E. Geneva St. Beer from 25 craft breweries will be on tap, along with food samples that pair well with beer.
The musical headliners are Michael Coleman & the Backbreakers, a blues outfit that has opened for Buddy Guy at Guy's Chicago blues club, Legends.
A silent auction to benefit Lakeland Animal Shelter also is planned.
Tickets are $40 and include a tasting glass. Designated drivers pay $10 for food and unlimited soda. Visit brewsandbluesfestival.com.
At Madison's Turners Hall, 3001 S. Stoughton Road, is the Arthritis Foundation's FestivAle beer tasting from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 15. Beer from more than 15 breweries will flow, and guests who buy VIP passes can talk to brew masters from 5 to 6 p.m. while nibbling on Whole Foods appetizers.
Tickets are $45 for general admission and $75 for VIP admission—both include the tasting glass. Designated drivers pay $15 to $25. Proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Visit FestivAle.kintera.org.
The Kissers are always busy around St. Patrick's Day—for good reason. The Madison Irish rock band has several shows coming up, and among the first is a 6 p.m. performance Friday, March 14, at Janesville's Looking Glass tavern, 18 N. Main St. Admission is free.
The Kissers also will play a free show from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at Tyranena Brewery, 1025 Owen St., Lake Mills. The band says the brewery is crafting a special beer for the occasion.
If you can't make those performances, The Kissers will play twice on St. Patrick's Day at Madison's High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Ave. A family-friendly show starts at 5:30 p.m. and features the Cashel Dennehy Irish Dancers. The adult show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 per person ($10 per family) for the early show and $10 for the late show.
The Kissers got their start in Madison but have local ties. Bassist Ken Fitzsimmons and mandolin player Kevin Youngs are from Whitewater, and keyboardist Mike Cammilleri is from Beloit.
Other Janesville taverns also will offer music this weekend, and bagpipers will add to the festive mood at O'Riley & Conway's Irish Pub.
The Beloit Historical Society plans to honor St. Patrick on Friday, March 14, with its annual St. Patty's Gala, which features a dinner and auction at the Country Club of Beloit, 2327 S. Riverside Drive.
The event starts at 6 p.m. with cocktails. Dinner is served at 7 p.m., and the silent auction begins at 8 p.m. One auction highlight: a weeklong vacation on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Music will be provided by the Breakaway Fiddle Strings, and guests are encouraged to dress as Irish lasses and laddies.
Tickets are $50. Visit beloithistoricalsociety.com or call 608-365-7835.
Janesville's first Irish Fest got a warm reception last fall. As a follow-up, the Janesville Performing Arts Center will welcome an Irish dance production, Rhythm in the Night, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27.
Rhythm in the Night incorporates Irish dance with storytelling. Lead dancer and producer Justin Boros plays Balor, a hero who falls under the spell of evil seductress Azura and wages war against his own kingdom. At 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds, Boros makes a formidable villain—until he is rescued by the love of his life.
Boros spent two years with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance before forming his own company. Two of his dancers have Wisconsin ties: Elyse Transon is from Delafield, and Brynn Geraghty comes from the Milwaukee suburb of Whitefish Bay.
Tickets are $35 for general admission or $75 for VIP admission, which includes a signed soundtrack and meet-and-greet with the cast. To get tickets, call 608-758-0297 or visit janesvillepac.org.
St. Patrick's Day wouldn't be complete without a parade. Madison and Milwaukee are known for their lively celebrations, though neither can rival Chicago's parade and traditional dyeing of the river.
—Chicago's parade starts at noon Saturday, March 15, at Balbo and Columbus drives downtown. The dyeing of the Chicago River starts at 10 a.m. and is best seen from the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, the west side of the Columbus Drive bridge, or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.
Public transportation is strongly recommended.
—Milwaukee's parade—the largest in Wisconsin with more than 80,000 attendees—starts at noon Saturday, March 15, in front of the Grand Avenue Mall downtown. A post-parade party with Irish music, dancing and food is planned at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave.
—Madison's parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 16, on the Capitol Square. Several contests will take place at 1 p.m., including most freckles, reddest hair, largest clan and best costumes. Those who wish to enter should meet at the corner of Wisconsin and Mifflin streets on the Square.
—If you miss the others, you can catch Monroe's parade—known as Shamrockin' the Square—at 5:17 p.m. Monday, March 17, on the downtown square. More information is at downtownmonroewisconsin.org.