saintpatricksparadeBoston may seem to have a stronghold of the Irish, but don’t dismiss my hometown, Philadelphia, when thinking of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. After all, Philly was home to my mom’s entire family – 100% Irish all, from county Cork. And believe me, Philly knows how to celebrate!

The events commemorating St. Pat start on March 10, with Mayor Michael Nutter’s proclamation of Irish Month in Philadelphia. At noon that day, the month will be kicked off with the St. Patrick Day Parade Luncheon and Sashing of the Grand Marshall at the Double Tree Hotel on Broad and Locust. This is usually an adult-only affair (after all, the kids are in school) but if you can get away and want to rub elbows with the greenest of the city’s big-wigs, you can make reservations ($50 a ticket) with Bridie McCafferty at 610-659-9290 or

The big celebration will be held Sunday, March 13, beginning with a parade mass at 8:45. (TMOM Tip: The 13th is the beginning of daylight savings time, so make sure you set your clocks ahead an hour when you go to bed on the 12th.) The mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Church at 20th and Locust (215-817-9969).

After mass, head to the parade route, which begins at 16th and JFK Boulevard (how appropriate is that?). The parade, Philadelphia’s 241st, will feature Irish cloggers, floats festooned in shamrocks, and lots of “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” buttons. So dress the kids in green sweatshirts (the weather gurus are predicting cold) and head out to celebrate the Irish – whether your family is from the Emerald Isle or not.