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Well, March is upon us and Downtown Greenville is starting look even more GREEN than usual! For the Irish and the “wish they were Irish” this is the most wonderful time of the year! And Downtown has plenty of ways for even the youngest “wee ones” to join in on the St. Paddy’s Day fun!

Festivities for the “greenest ‘ of all holidays kick off with a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10th. Celtic revelers will don their green apparel to stroll down Main Street and celebrate all that is Irish! With an eclectic array of Irish music, step dance teams, Irish wolfhounds, setters and other Irish dog breeds, not to mention the obligatory leprechaun or two, this free event will delight one and all! The hour (or so) long parade begins at 1PM, with participants lining up on South Main Street at Wardlaw. For more information, call 288-2922.

After the parade, join the rest of Greenville’s Irish community and “Return to the Green”. For most, this free event signals the true start of the whirlwind of St. Paddy’s celebrations. Starting at 1PM, this family-friendly shindig features Irish step dancers, Irish music from the Greenville Pipes & Drum Corps among others, authentic Irish food, the ever-popular selection of domestic and Irish beer and more Irish accents (both real and faked) than you can shake a shillelagh at. This year’s shamrock soiree takes place at Fluor Field with festivities continuing until 6PM. For details, visit http://www.returntothegreensc.com.

The Children’s Museum gets into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit with some special events for all the lads & lassies. Wee ones ages 5 and under can make beautiful Mosaic Shamrocks from cut paper in TCMU’s “S is for Shamrock” art classes. The classes take place daily, at various times, from March 12 through March 16. The classes are free with museum admission and children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit http://www.tcmupstate.org.

The Augusta Road Library welcomes all the little leprechauns to join them on Saturday, March 16, for “A Wee Bit of Blarney”. This St. Patrick’s Day celebration will feature Irish stories, holiday crafts and green refreshments. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Call 277-0161 for more information.

Also on March 16th, The Palmetto Children’s Charity invites you to join them at Fluor Field for the 2nd annual St. Patty’s Dash & Bash. Featuring certified 5k and 10k runs, as well as a children’s “Fun Run” and other kid-friendly activities, this family-centered event benefits local children’s charities like The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Let There Be Mom and Camp Spearhead. Although the event itself is free, there is a $25 registration fee for those wishing to participate in the 5k and 10k runs. Packet pickup is at Fluor Field from noon to 7PM on March 15 and 6:30AM to 7:30AM the day of the race, which begins at 8AM. To register and to find out more, visit http://www.stpattysdashandbash.com.

Another event seeking to make a difference is the annual St. Baldrick’s event at Larkin’s on the River. This annual event, which benefits childhood cancer research, is a much beloved St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Festivities begin at 1PM on March 17th. Whether you’re a spectator, a donor or one of those brave souls allowing their heads to be shaved in the name of charity, you cannot help but be moved and inspired by this event. For more information and to donate, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org.

So, there is no excuse not to head Downtown to shake your shamrocks a bit on St. Paddy’s Day! Just be sure to wear something green or you may get pinched! Details regarding more “adult-oriented” St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be in next week’s blog. Until then, “May the Road rise up to meet You, & may the Wind be always at your back.” Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

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No one knew who her parents were or where she came from that cold February day. She was a small, unidentified baby girl that the police officers who discovered her named Julie Valentine.  But her tragically short life focused attention on the plight of abused and neglected children in South Carolina…and the Julie Valentine Center was created as a result.

It’s been more than a decade since that day, but the Julie Valentine Center’s mission has only strengthened and grown.  A symbol of hope for those who have survived rape or child abuse, the JVC  works tirelessly at its goal to stop sexual violence and abuse against women and children.  Offering  Community Education, Victim Support, Specialized Services for Child Victims and Trauma-Focused Therapy, among other vital programs, the  JVC helps victims of such violence put their lives back together and guides them on the road to recovery.

This Saturday, August 4th, the Julie Valentine Center will hold its 4th Annual Run 2 Overcome at Cleveland Park.  Not an ordinary fundraiser, this event is about so much more than just raising money. It is a call to the community to come together to speak out, in a united voice, against violent crimes. It is the chance for victims of these crimes to stand together, without fear, among the friends, family, neighbors, and even among strangers, who care.  It is a chance to find out what YOU can do as an individual to help put a stop to the violence.

This year’s event boasts both 5K and 10K races, as well as a “Fun Run” for the kids. Registration will take place right up until Race Day and can be done online. Registration fees are $25 for the 5K and $30 for the 10K.  The 10K race begins at 7:30AM, followed by the 5K, beginning at 8AM (Race Day Packet Pick-Up is from 6:30AM until 7:30AM). Runners, walkers and  strollers are all invited to join the event.  For more information regarding Run 2 Overcome or The Julie Valentine Center, visit www.julievalentinecenter.org.



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