I don't, for a minute, regret that I'm going to my first St. Patrick's day in Savannah this weekend.

OK, maybe for a minute, since I find that Henri's Notions, one of the finest Celtic bands I've ever seen, performs its traditional jigs, reels and folk tunes at Scruffy Murphy's on Friday night. Imagine my surprise when I first saw them, some 15 years ago, to learn that these blokes were from Alabama, not Eire. Fair warning: Despite Scruffy's rock-club image, this band is a traditional, folk-based act. So don't expect any Pogues covers. Music starts at 9 p.m., and there's a $5 cover. Details: 706-322-3460.

Saturday's supposed to rain, so it's a good time to check out a movie. Carmike's brought "War/Dance" to the Screening Room at Peachtree 8. Sure, a documentary about Ugandan children performing in a song and dance competition isn't everyone's cup of Karibu Spiced Black Chai. Bet the film was nominated for an Academy Award, so odds are you'll come out with a deeper understanding of another culture. Suck it up. Showtimes: 706-571-3456.

Sunday, if the rain's clear, you can hike the Pine Mountain Trail and go look for a four-leaf clover. (Odds: 1 in 10,000. Seriously.) If you find one, you can reward yourself with a green beer. Or just save the food dye and settle for yellow.

—Brad Barnes


Membership in an elite club makes me passionate about all events involving airplanes.

No, I'm not talking about the mile-high club. I'm referring to the fact that I'm one few Ledger-Enquirer staffers who hasn't had a run-in with air sickness while flying during a media preview day for the Thunder in the Valley Air Show.

You can experience the thrill of barf bags firsthand when the annual air show comes to town this weekend. Take a joy ride in a helicopter or airplane, or simply admire the antique cars on the ground.

Thunder in the Valley is Saturday and Sunday at the Columbus Metropolitan Airport, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the gate. 706-327-2634.

After flying the not-so-friendly skies Saturday, hit the local nightlife scene. There's lots of options, but I recommend Soho Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, where you can catch a performance by The Issues and Suburban Camouflage. The show starts at 10 p.m. and cover is $5. 706-568-3316.

If you managed to survive air turbulence and a night of swimming in cigarette smoke, reward your cast-iron stomach by traveling to Auburn for a leisurely brunch Sunday.

A good pick? Arricia, 241 South College Street, an Italian eatery where you can get brunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. There's omelet and prime rib stations, but you also opt for the crustless PB&J sandwiches at the kids' station. 334-844-5140.


Oh, sure, sit on your high Shetland pony and mock Columbus' nightlife 364 days out of the year, and then put on a shamrock headband St. Patrick's Day and hold your green beer aloft while shouting, “Whoooo!”


This year, the holy of holies spans across a weekend and there's no reason why you can't party like an Alpha Beta in a green toga just waiting for the next Irish Car Bomb. You could follow all the other senators with knives into Scruffy Murphy's, but let's get serious - traditional Irish music is best left to NPR, and what you want to do is get liquored up in a responsible fashion. Here's where to do it:

Memory Lane is under new management and worth checking out around 9 p.m. Saturday. It costs $6 to walk in the door, but at least you can expect the usual assortment of green beer, drinks and shooters.

The staff prefers a more genteel clientele, but they'll still let you in.

On Sunday, sober your sorry self up, put on a tie and attend the 6-9 p.m. benefit for 14-year-old Joshua Zalunardo. Held for a boy with a cancerous tumor, it will be in the President's Room at the Lumpkin Center at CSU. Bring $40 if by yourself; $70 if you picked up that Zeta Kappa the previous night. There will be music, drinks and drinks.

Finally, on Monday, as you're wishing you'd just called in sick, make that obligatory trek to Scruffy Murphy's, which serves Irish cuisine just once a year. It starts at 11 a.m. and features shepherd's pie, Irish stew and a lot of other foods you never eat.

Just leave before the bagpipes start.

— Alan Riquelmy