Rumor has it many Irish folks who actually live in Ireland celebrate St. Patrick's Day
by solemnly going to mass. Not so much their 35 million strong American brethren, who soak March 17 in enough beer and debauchery to make the holiday irresistible to even those of us who have no ancestral ties to the Emerald Isle.
We all know that March 17 can get crazy in Boston, Chicago, New York
, Savannah and New Orleans, but we found two spots in small-town America that really bring their A-game for St. Patrick's -- including one town where the number of people participating in the parade is over three times more than the total local population.
Read on to turn green with St. Paddy's party envy.
With St. Paddy's Day falling on a Wednesday this year, it provides the opportunity for at least four straight days of celebration. Which is exactly what they are doing in tiny O'Neill, Neb.
, the home of the world's largest shamrock (pictured to the left).
The town of 3,500 will begin their annual St. Patrick's Day fun Wednesday with a shamrock painting. Nebraska's "Irish capital" will then keep getting their Guinness on until Saturday,
with events like Irish dancing, two-man log-sawing contests and even a dodgeball tournament (that's not going to end well) to keep them in the spirit.
New London (boo), Wis.
, is another place where they go all out when they turn March green. The central Wisconsin city of 7,000 kicks off the week of St. Patrick's Day by having leprechauns change its name to "New Dublin."
This year, the corned beef, cabbage, dancing, singing and drinking continues until Saturday, when a parade of 25,000, the largest in the state, ends the official festivities. Erin Go Bragh
, indeed, you wily badgers.
We want you to let us know, in the comments, about any other great St. Pat's day celebrations that go down a little more off the beaten path.