File photo Chicago River. City of Chicago photo

GOLD COAST SHORE REPORT – How do we know winter is coming to a close and spring is right around the corner? Wisconsin has the return of the robins. Georgia has the Masters golf tournament.

But we have the best harbinger of all – St. Patrick’s Day.

We’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorite must-not-miss events. Here’s the rundown for 2017:

Saturday, March 11, 9 a.m. the city begins dying the Chicago River green between Michigan Avenue and Columbas Drive.

Saturday, March 11 at noon is the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  The route Starts at Balbo Avenue & Columbus Drive, then continues north on Columbus until Monroe Street.

Saturday, March 11, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Lebrchaun Leap 5k/8k run along the lakefront in Lincoln Park.

Saturday, March 11,  9 a.m., the Get Lucky Half Marathon, 14K and 7K  along the lakefront on the South Side.

Friday, March 11, noon to midnight at the Irish American Heritage Center. St. Patrick’s Festival with music, dance, food, drink, an arts and crafts fair and family fun

Sunday, March 12, at noon is the South Side Irish Parade, which kicks off  at 103rd Street & Western Avenue, then continues south on Western until 115th Street.

Sunday, March 12, at noon is the Northwest Side Irish Parade that begins at Onahan School, 6634 W. Raven St.

Friday, March 17, 6:30 p.m. Forever Green at the Chicago Cultural Arts Center. Hosted by the Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago (YIFC), Forever Green is one of Chicago’s largest and longest running St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Friday, March 17, noon to midnight at the Irish American Heritage Center. St. Patrick’s Day Celebration with music, dance, food, drink and face painting for kids.

One final reminder: Don’t drink and drive. Or don’t drive downtown anyway. Here’s the Trib’s map of 17 bars that are within walking distance of the Chicago River.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, a Wisconsin native, is founder of the Plutchaknews Network.