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The Mix — Cool things to do March 16-22, 2018

Chicago will host its annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday. | James Foster / For Sun-Times Media

It’s time to make big plans. Here are some cool things to check out in the coming week:

It’s all about St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, Chicago. The fun starts with the annual dyeing of the Chicago River, 9 a.m. March 17. Michigan Avenue at Wacker Drive. Visit chicagostpatricksdayparade.org

Members of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers union use an environmentally friendly dye to turn the Chicago River emerald green. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

After the Chicago River takes on its emerald-green hue, stick around for the 63rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The whole shebang steps off at noon at Columbus Drive and Balbo and heads north to Monroe. Visit cityofchicago.org

You’ll want to continue the celebration of all things green after the parade, so head on over to the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, for its official St. Patrick’s Festival. Plenty of food, music, dancing, Irish gifts, arts and crafts will be featured. The festival runs 1 p.m. to midnight March 17. Tickets, $12-$15; kids under 12, free. Visit irish-americn.org.

If green is not your scene, check out the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival, March 21-25 at Lincoln Hall, Chop Shop, FitzGerald’s and Martyrs. For the complete artists lineup at each venue, and ticket prices, visit cbbfestival.com

Check out the Chicago Flower & Garden Show this weekend. | Provided Photo

The annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show is under way at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. What started out in 1987 as a flower and fruit exposition has grown into one of the largest and most elaborate horticulture shows in the country. More than 1,000 varieties of flowers and plants create a kaleidoscopic landscape of color and fragrance. The show, which runs through March 18, also features daily presentations by renowned experts in the field, celebrity chef demos, a Kids Activity Garden and workshops/seminars by industry experts. This year’s show theme is “Flowertales,” with more than 20 garden vignettes celebrating popular children’s books. For tickets and schedules, visit chicagoflower.com.

Kid Rock performs on stage during his “American Rock N Roll 2018” tour at Prudential Center Practice Facility on March 9 in Newark, New Jersey. | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Well, not exactly, but it is non-candidate Kid Rock and his American Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour arriving at the United Center for a 7:30 p.m. concert March 16. A Thousand Horses opens. Visit ticketmaster.com

Glen Hansard, an Academy Award winner for a song from “Once,” headlines the Riviera, 4647 N. Racine, at 8 p.m. March 18. For tickets, $40 (18+over) visit ticketfly.com.


To gear up for the March 29 release of Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, presents a festival of the director’s greatest sci-fi epics. The series begins March 16 with “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (1:30 p.m.), “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (7 p.m.) and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (9:30 p.m.) and continues through March 22. Admission $11 ($30 for a series pass). Visit musicboxtheatre.com.