By MARIE GILBERT
6:03 PM EDT, March 13, 2013
It's often said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.
And that's no blarney.
From the wearing of leprechaun hats to the consumption of green beer and corned beef, people of all ancestral backgrounds have embraced the holiday with open arms.
Virtually every American city throws some semblance of a party to celebrate March 17. Chicago dyes its river green, New York and Boston compete for the best parade and Kansas City, Mo., starts the day with an Irish Mass, followed by a grand procession through the streets and an annual food drive called "Go for the Green."
Now, a wee bit of the old sod will be coming to Hagerstown with "Dublin at the Diamond," a day-long festival of all things Irish.
The event is being organized by local resident Zachary Changuris in partnership with the Hagerstown Suns and will be from from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Municipal Stadium on East Memorial Blvd.
Changuris, 34, said St. Patrick's Day always has been one of his favorite holidays. And, rightfully so. He has Irish blood running through his veins. Not that you would know it from his last name.
His father is Greek. "And for 364 days of the year, we were a Greek household," he said.
But one day of the year was devoted to his mother's Irish roots.
That day, Changuris said, was St. Patrick's Day.
Throughout the years, Changuris never lost his enthusiasm for the Irish holiday and began thinking of a way to enjoy St. Patrick's Day in a family friendly community setting.
With a little brainstorming, he came up with Dublin at the Diamond.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for the community to come out and celebrate a really fun holiday," he said.
The event promises to have a rainbow of activities, including music, food, arts and crafts vendors and several Irish-themed competitions.
Changuris said organizers are excited about the entertainment lineup, which includes the Rockville (Md.) High School Pipe Band and dancers from Duffy's School of Irish Dance in Gaithersburg, Md., who will be demonstrating traditional Irish step dancing.
Also performing will be students of Hagerstown's Evolution Rock School, while DJ Sidekick from Hagerstown, will be emceeing the event and spinning a mix of Top 40 and Irish music.
Children's activities will be offered, including the Suns' new Funzone and face painting by the community organization, Lead 4 Life.
An Irish festival wouldn't be complete without some bragging rights, including a kilt competition and a St. Patrick's Day pride contest.
"We hope to see lots of folks in kilts and green from head to toe," said Changuris, who personally owns a kilt and will be announcing the competitions.
Changuris said the festival also will feature The Benny's Pub VIP Experience, which includes a heated tent, premiere seating, snacks, a souvenir stadium cup and one free beer. This is for individuals 21 years of age and older only.
"We also are pleased to give participants of Hagers-town's Run For Your Luck 5K a discount on admission," he added. "When runners present their bib, they will receive $2 off the price of admission."
Changuris said organizers have been receiving positive feedback for "Dublin at the Diamond" and hope it will become an annual event.
If you go ...
What: Dublin at the Diamond, an all-day Irish festival featuring music, food, crafts and competitions
When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16
Where: Hagerstown Suns Municipal Stadium, 274 E. Memorial Blvd., Hagerstown
Cost: Advance tickets can be purchased at www.ticketre turn.com and are $5 for general admission and $35 for Benny's Pub VIP tickets. Tickets will also be sold at the gate and are $7 for general admission and $40 for Benny's Pub VIP Experience (21 years of age and older). Those ages 12 and younger are free admission.
More information: Daily updates at www.facebook.com/dublinatthediamond
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