Have a grand — and green — time

Seeking out some really good "craic" (a great time) this St. Patrick's Day? Whether you have a toddler in tow or are looking for the best green beer deals, we've got you covered.

And if you want everyone to think you have "bua na cainte" (the gift of the gab), just remember this toast: "Slainte agus tainte!" (Pronunciation for those new to Gaelic: slawn-che oggus tinn-che. Meaning: health and wealth!)

Old World Village German Restaurant, 7561 Center Ave. #49, Huntington Beach, will switch from sauerkraut to stout for St. Patrick's Day with corned beef and cabbage on the menu, and drink specials on the board. Information: (714) 895-8020.

Irish pub Silky Sullivan's, 10201 Slater Ave., Fountain Valley, will offer Irish food, green beer and bands like Echo Love Chamber, as well as Irish swag and accessories. Information: (714) 963-2718.

If it's something traditional you seek — something that evokes the old country — we recommend popping by the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for an Irish Hooley (barnburner of a party).

Enjoy pub songs and ballads by traditional band Slugger O'Toole, fiddler Bella Issakova, uilleann piper Preston Howard and members of the Superb Kerry Dance Team.

"We just jump in and start dancing to the music," explained Kerry dancer Kimberly Girard.

Slugger O'Toole will perform traditional Irish classics, including "The Irish Rover", "Finnegan's Wake", "Danny Boy", and "The Auld Triangle."

"They [Slugger O'Toole] are doing everything that's beautifully Irish," said Kerry Records owner Margaret O'Carroll. "It's Irish to the core. It's wildly good."

Tickets are $45 for adults, $40 for seniors, and $25 for children. Information: (949) 854-4646 or thebarclay.org.

The Orange County Market Place, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, will hold its sixth annual St. Patrick's Day Festival, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, during its weekend swap meet. The highlight of the day is a selection of world champion Irish dance troupes from the region, who will be performing throughout the event.

Gourmet food trucks will offer themed menu items; a Celtic cellist will be on hand, as well as free face painting, free green mint ice cream, a leprechaun magician and a nine-foot leprechaun. Get green beer or green lemonade for a fee. Admission is $2 or free for those 12 and under. Information: (949) 723-6660 or ocmarketplace.com.

French 75, 1464 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, is offering a beer pairing menu Saturday as well as beer specials. The three-course menu is $24 per person with an added $12 for the beer pairing.

The menu includes an amuse-bouche; corned beef and cabbage salad (optionally paired with Dubhe Imperial Black IPA); beef shepherd's pie (paired with Old Rasputin Imperial Stout); and Chocolate Guinness Goodness (paired with Barney Flat Oatmeal Stout). Information: (949) 494-8444 or french75.net.

For an OC-style St. Patrick's Day (and night), pop into Patrick's Pub, 2645 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, from noon to 2 a.m. Enjoy green beer, free giveaways, and bagpiper visits; 2012 St. Patrick's Day T-shirts will be sold for $10. Information: (714) 966-2721.

For a more active approach to the wildest of days, consider a bargain private party cruise or Segway tour of the Balboa Peninsula, offered by Newport Fun Tours. Boats are filling up fast — charter a private boat to toodle the harbor with room for up to eight passengers for two hours for $120 total (bring your own green beer) or take a 90-minute Segway tour for $50. Information: (949) 675-8433.

If you're more into family health than green beer, check out the free third annual Family Fun and Wellness Fair, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Pretend City Children's Museum, 29 Hubble, Irvine.

Partake in a wide variety of free developmental screenings for kids ages birth through five; free child ID cards; healthy eating and activities; and St. Patrick's Day activities like performances by the Claddagh Irish Dance Company and face painting. Kids who visit three checkup stations receive a free admission ticket to Pretend City, good for one year from date of visit. Information: pretendcity.org.

Feline fanatics will enjoy the St. Catrick's Day adoption event at the no-kill Seal Beach Animal Care Center, 1700 Adolfo Lopez Drive, Seal Beach, where cat adoption fees will be slashed from $75 to $5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Available cats will be spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, treated for flies and worms, and current on vaccines. Arrive early; crowds are expected. Information: (562) 430-4993 or sbacc.org.

The Harp Inn, 130 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, will start the day early with an Irish-style breakfast, followed by lunch and dinner specials like bangers and mash or corned beef and cabbage. Entertainment featuring Irish bands will begin at 10 a.m., when the pub broadcasts a live rugby game featuring Ireland vs. England.

Why bother going out and facing the crowds, you ask? "An rud a lionas an tsuil lionann se an croi" (what fills the eye fills the heart).

Freelance writer Heather Youmans contributed to this article.

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