After muddling through winter like March of Penguins, it’s nice to actually see March on the horizon, and with it, the prospect of springtime.
(Even though we know that spring rarely arrives in Chicago — temperature-wise, at least — during the month. But, hey, we can always hope.)
True to legend, March does indeed arrive like a lion in the Windy City this March (with a frigid dip in Lake Michigan) and then goes out like a lamb (on Easter weekend) with plenty of fun packed in between. Here are a few ways to make the most of the coming month in Chicago.
Chicago Polar Plunge
Back in January, it was so cold in Chicago that the city called off its annual New Year’s Day Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach. A temperature of minus-9 degrees will do that.
But two months later, Lake Michigan’s waters will surely be much warmer, right?
I suppose warmth really isn’t the point for the 18th annual Chicago Polar Plunge held on March 4, benefiting Special Olympics Chicago. In past years, the likes of Vince Vaughn and Lady Gaga have gone for a dip during the Plunge. Perhaps a celeb will show up this year too.
For more information, visit sochicago.enmotive.com.
St. Patrick’s Day Parades
March 11 and 17
With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, Chicago will be celebrating its trademark holiday to the hilt — both on March 17 and the Sunday prior.
On Sunday. March 11, the city will host the South Side Irish Parade, which went liquor-free several years ago to quash its rowdy reputation. The now-family-friendly event will step off at noon from 103rd Street and proceed down Western Avenue to 115th. For more information, visit southsideirishparade.org.
On March 17, Chicago will dye the river its traditional green prior to its enormous, noisy and fun-filled official St. Patrick’s Day Parade beginning at noon and broadcast live on ABC-Channel 7. For more information about the dyeing and parade, visit chicagostpatricksdayparade.org.
March 14 to 18 and March 25 to April 8
Even if the weather outside doesn’t cooperate, Chicago will still get into the springtime spirit during March when it hosts a pair of elaborate flower shows.
From March 14 to 18, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show will take place at Navy Pier featuring 24 gardens, 90 vendors, cooking demonstrations and a kids’ activity garden. The event’s theme this year is “Books and Gardens.” For more information, visit chicagoflower.com.
From March 25 to April 8, the annual Macy’s Flower Show will be take place when the retailer’s Loop flagship store (111 N. State St.), blooms with flowers and exotic topiaries in landscapes, along with scheduled events. For more information, visit social.macys.com/flower-show.
It’s entirely possible (probable?) that you will have had your fill of whisky — and whiskey — from St. Patrick’s Day. But if not? Well, then WhiskyFest Chicago is right around the corner.
Held 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, at Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Drive), the celebration of spirits will allow guests the opportunities to sample from 300 whiskeys and learn from master distillers and blenders. Perhaps best of all, you can also book a room in the hotel to sleep off the revelry afterwards.
For more information, visit whiskyfest.com.
Easter at Lincoln Park Zoo
Easter didn’t quite sneak into March this year, instead falling on April 1 — no foolin’ — but events celebrating the holiday did. Among them is the March 31 Easter Egg-Stravagazna at Lincoln Park Zoo, which includes breakfast with the Easter bunny, an egg hunt and more.
Visit lpzoo.org for more information.
• DAVE WISCHNOWSKY can be reached by email at email@example.com, or follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/wischlist, on Twitter at twitter.com/wischlist or his blog, wischlist.com.