Plus, an Alpine vacation just one state away
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Today's Note
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Connor here. With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday this year, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate this weekend. From concerts to street festivals, here are 10 events where you can make your own luck.

Friday, March 17
  • Local Motive Presents: Retro Homecoming | Friday, Mar. 17 | 8 p.m. | Union Hall, 1023 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland | $10 | Wear your best retro costume to celebrate the 1990s and early 2000s with dance battles, throwback music, and local food vendors.
  • Bartow’s Unparade | Friday, Mar. 17 | 5:30-6 p.m. | Downtown Bartow | Free | This quick-paced, unconventional parade features a “mutt strut” and King of the Un-Parade, SL Frisbie — the parade runs from Nye Jordan Park to Friday Fest.
  • Florida Carillon Festival: John Widmann | Friday, Mar. 17 | 3-3:45 p.m. | Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales | $0-$17 | Enjoy the final performance of this festival featuring Celtic music to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — tickets include gardens admission.

Saturday, March 18
  • Heritage Day | Saturday, Mar. 18 | 8 a.m.-2 p.m. | Heritage Park , 8950 N. Campbell Rd., Lakeland | Free | Enjoy live music, Southern-style food, pioneer demonstrations, and more at this fundraiser for the Kathleen Area Historical Society.
  • Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market | Saturday, Mar. 18 | 8 a.m.-2 p.m. | Downtown Lakeland | Free | Find fresh produce, plants, and locally handcrafted items at this outdoor farmers market.
  • Florida PolyCon | Saturday, Mar. 18 | 10 a.m.-8 p.m. | Florida Polytechnic University, 4700 Research Way, Lakeland | $0-$30 | Celebrate all things geek with cosplay contests, gaming tournaments, and workshops at this convention hosted by Florida Poly students.
  • St. Patrick’s Day at Molly’s Irish Pub | Saturday, Mar. 18 | 11 a.m. | Molly’s Irish Pub, 111 S. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland | Free | Celebrate with a street party featuring live music and traditional Irish food and drinks.
Sunday, March 19
  • Cookie Concert | Sunday, Mar. 19 | 1-3 p.m. | Florida Southern College, Branscomb Auditorium, 1100 Johnson Ave., Lakeland | Free | Take part in family activities, like an instrument petting zoo, before solving a musical mystery and enjoying Publix cookies.
  • Original Sewing & Quilt Expo | Sunday, Mar. 19 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland | $8-$15 | Shop the latest sewing tools, see quilts on display, and show off your own creations in the runway fashion show.
  • Jazz Brunch w/ Happy Ending Food Truck | Sunday, Mar. 19 | 2-5 p.m. | Swan Brewing, 115 W. Pine St., Lakeland | Free | Relax with music by a jazz ensemble featuring saxophone, violin, drums, and piano while you sip bottomless mimosas, sangria, and cider.

We have a calendar filled with events and activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.

Click here to have your event featured.
Editor’s Pick
  • Hitting the road? Hit the tracks instead with our tips for taking a train from Lakeland’s Amtrak station. Our readers’ biggest pro tips: Be prepared for delays and ask the friendly station workers for help with ticket booking.
  • If you’re new to Lakeland, you likely have questions about life in your new town. Learn the basics of getting started in Swan City with our Lakelander 101 guide. It’s full of info on the practicalities of life (read: Great to send to new neighbors).
  • Love bug season: You know it, and you probably dread it as much as we do. Get prepared for the swarm of bugs we’ll see soon — and don’t forget to clean them off your car to save your paint.
Great Escapes
Our guide to Helen, GA
NOOGAtoday | Helen part two
Get a taste of Germany in a small town in Georgia. | Photo by @stephdantravel
Check out Helen, GA, an alpine village that’s known for its nature scenes, having one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the country, and transforming into a winter wonderland.
  • Why go? Take a trip to Germany without leaving the country. The town is known for its Bavarian architecture, German cuisine and drinks, and for throwing one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the country from September 7-October 29.
  • Act like a local: Start the morning off with a coffee from Yonah Coffee & Café. They have a great cappuccino and the signature Yonah Latte with white chocolate and raspberry is delicious. In the evening, The Alpine Brew Deck is one of our favorite spots to grab a beer in Helen. Grab a brew and sit along the deck that overlooks the Chattahoochee River.
  • Where to stay: Spectacular mountain chalet, short walk to downtown and activities ($270/night)
Bonus message from our partner: If you’re looking to book this trip, Going offers all the affordable flight hacks from your home airport. Sign up here.*

  • Looking for a new laptop that checks all the boxes without breaking the bank? Enter: The Acer Chromebook 311. This lightweight laptop is decked out with all the essential Google apps — like Google Chrome and Google Calendar — it’s quiet, and it has up to 10 hours of battery life.*
  • What we’re buying for our cars: Dash cams. The REDTIGER Dual Dash Camera captures both the front and rear of your car and can be a lifesaver when it comes to contesting traffic violations and recording evidence of collisions. Plus, it connects to your mobile device.*
  • Summer travel is just around the corner. On our radar: This mid-century modern stay in Martha’s Vineyard. For something a little more tropical, our pick is this seaside cottage in St. John. If international travel is calling your name, this charming home along the French Riviera is for you.*
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