Things to do in March: St. Patrick’s Day, girlfriends weekend, music on the Lakeshore calendar

It’s March in West Michigan. While there’s not necessarily a lot, weather-wise, to distinguish it from previous months, there are a lot of events and activities on the March calendar. The date I have circled is March 20 — the first day of spring. There are nature talks, stage shows, concerts, family films, and more St. Patrick’s Day events than you can count — even if you take off your shoes. Enjoy the month with family and friends in Allegan, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. This list includes options for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or interest.

Week 1 (March 1–11)

Mosquitoes and Malaria: The Michigan Connection
Lakeshore Museum Center, 430 W. Clay Ave., Muskegon 
Wednesday, March 1, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: $5 for non-Muskegon County residents. Free for museum members and residents of Muskegon County.
Did you know that, in the past, malaria was actually a serious problem in Michigan? Join us at the Lakeshore Museum Center for a program with Randall DeJong from Calvin University. He is very interested in the diversity of invertebrates, especially parasites and their hosts. He will be talking with us about all things mosquitos and malaria. 

Great Performance Series: Spanish Brass
Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, 221 Columbia Ave., Holland
Thursday, March 2, 7:30-9 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $26; seniors, Hope faculty and staff, $22; children 18 and younger, $7; Hope students, free
For 30 years, Spanish Brass has remained one of the most dynamic quintets on the international musical stage. Winners of multiple awards, their live performances are must-see events. “Spanish Brass dazzled us with daunting passages fearlessly flown across the stage, brilliant color, and comedic moments that endeared each one of them to their audience,” said the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Their 26 recordings are highly acclaimed and they have created two international festivals devoted to celebrating and expanding the world of brass instruments.

Smokin Dobroleles & Truck Driver Bingo
The Playhouse at White Lake, 304 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall
Friday, March 3, 7:30 p.m. 
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 day of show
Local Love on the Lakeshore double bill for the Playhouse at White Lake’s First Fridays Series. Look forward to an evening of folk, country, reggae, Americana, smokin’ blues, jazz, rock, soul, hip-hop, funk, and a fun cornucopia of style and sound.

Girlfriends Weekend
Downtown Holland
Friday–Sunday, March 3–5
Cost: $50, plus additional ticket fees for some events
You're invited to spend three days shopping, dining, and indulging in Downtown Holland with your best gal pals. But don't wait, register now before spots sell out. Your $50 registration fee includes a Girlfriends Weekend swag bag full of goodies, a coupon book with savings to participating shops and restaurants, a complimentary mimosa at check-in, fun hands-on activities and classes at participating businesses, the chance to win great giveaways, a Downtown Holland pub crawl on Friday night (cash bar), and three days of fun with your girlfriends. For an additional ticket fee, you can also choose to attend the Breakfast and Fashion Show at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Haworth Hotel and Conference Center for $25, and the Luau Party from 8–11 p.m. Saturday at the Holland Civic Center Place for $10. The party will feature a DJ, dancing, entertainment, a free photo booth, snacks, a cash bar, and party favors.

Hootenanny at Waypost
Waypost Brewing Co., 1630 Blue Star Hwy., Fennville
Saturday, March 4, 1 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Shake off winter with a shindig on the patio, live music by The Bart Attacks, bonfires, and hot poked beers. Celebrate the release of Country Lager — a little bit amber, a lot crisp, and just the right thing for these cold season blues. Outdoor activities abound, so appropriate cold-weather attire is recommended.

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Michigan
Fricano’s Muskegon Lake, 1050 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Saturday, March 4, noon to 8 p.m.
Cost: Free to plungers who raise at least $10; $10 spectators
On March 4, Muskegon Polar Plunge participants will be freezin’ for a reason. Check-in opens at noon in The Event Center at Fricano’s Place, at which time plungers will turn in funds raised to benefit Special Olympics Michigan. Plungers will be bused to Hartshorn Marina for the plunge, which begins at 2 p.m. The plunge will be followed by an After Splash Bash beginning at 4 p.m., featuring awards and an auction.

Open Mic Night at the Park Theatre
Tuesday, March 7, 8-10 p.m.
Park Theatre, 248 S. River Ave., Holland
Cost: $3 to enter, food and drinks available for purchase
Park Theatre Open Mic happens every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. Cost to enter is $3. Full bar, pizza, snacks, comedy, music, poetry, dancing, spoken word and so much more.

Dining in the Dark
Muskegon Farmers Market, 242 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Wednesday, March 8, 6 p.m.
Cost: $55
Dining in the Dark is an event that will heighten four of your five senses. Enjoy a fun, out-of-your-comfort-zone experience while dining in a whole new way. Psychologists have been advocating dining in the dark as the ultimate taste experience for many years. Studies show that 80% of people eat with their eyes; with that sense eliminated, the theory is that the other senses — namely taste and smell — take over to elevate your meal to a whole new level. After donning your blindfold in the darkened room, you'll soon realize that focusing on taste and smell alone can be a truly enlightening experience — provided you're not afraid of the dark. Chef Jack Page will be creating a delicious four-course meal designed to stimulate the palate and challenge your sense of smell and taste. A cash bar will be available with a cocktail hour beginning at 6 p.m. and dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice. Please indicate any restrictions by emailing

Youth of the Year Celebration
Fellowship Church, 2165 W. Lakewood Blvd., Holland
Thursday, March 9, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
The: 28th annual Youth of the Year Celebration, presented by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Holland, will take place March 9 at Fellowship Church in Holland. Nominees are Gavin Phe, Sterling Shepard II, Isabel Shepard, Alesha VandenBerge, Analicia Sandoval, and Juan Andres Gomez. Attend at Fellowship Church or via livestream at

‘Detroit '67’
Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Thursday–Saturday, March 9–11, showtimes vary
Cost: $25
Produced by Detroit Public Theatre (DPT), this thought-provoking and timely masterpiece, set in Detroit in 1967, Motown has hit its groove and the Poindexter siblings, Chelle and Lank, are making ends meet by hosting parties in their basement. However, Lank and his friend Sly have dreams beyond the cellar shindigs. When Lank brings home a mysterious white woman, the family's simmering disagreements explode — as the streets erupt. Dominique Morisseau, DPT's executive artistic producer, is a native Detroit playwright with two plays on Broadway this season, and a MacArthur Genius Award Winner.

Free Dinner & Movie Night: ‘Pinocchio’
The Momentum Center, 714 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Friday, March 10, dinner at 5 p.m., movie at 6 p.m. 
Cost: Free
The Momentum Center in Grand Haven its monthly Dinner and Movie Night on Friday, March 10, featuring the film “Pinocchio.” This 2022 remake of the classic animated movie tells the tale of a fabled wooden boy on an adventure, while revealing the power of family relationships. It is a story of love, life, death, purpose, and self-assurance. The film, rated PG, received the 2022 Golden Globe Award for best animated motion
picture and the Critics Choice Award for best animated feature.

Two HDL Reading Month Author Events
March is reading month, and Herrick District Library will host author events for both young and old, including:
1. Michigan author Kelly J. Baptist
Herrick North Branch community room, 155 Riley St., Holland
Friday, March 10, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
The library will host Kelly J. Baptist, award-winning author of the picture book “The Electric Slide and Kai,” and middle grade novels including the Isaiah Dunn series and “The Swag is in the Socks.” Her newest middle grade novel in verse, “Eb & Flow” will be released in March. Baptist will talk about her background and writing process at the event. A question-and-answer session and a book-signing will follow.
2. Anne-Marie Oomen and Jack Ridl
Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Wednesday, March 29, 7–8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Award-winning author Anne-Marie Oomen and nationally acclaimed and locally beloved poet Jack Ridl will discuss Oomen's latest book, “As Long As I Know You: The Mom Book.” Described as “poetic and heart-rending,” the memoir shares the near-universal challenges and triumphs that come with caring for a parent at the end of life through the lens of Oomen's own relationship with her mother. A question-and-answer session and a book-signing will follow.

Holland St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Eighth Street, Downtown Holland
Saturday, March 11, noon
Costs: Free
The community of Holland goes Irish for a day.   Our parade travels east down 8th Street from the 8th Street Marketplace (150 W. 8th St.) to the corner of 8th Street and College Avenue.  Celebrations continue along Eighth Street at New Holland Brewing Company, Hops at 84 East, Curragh Irish Pub, and City Sen. Irish dancers, bagpipers, and kilt-wearers are just a few of the parade highlights. Families and individuals wearing green are invited to carry Irish flags in the parade.

Scavenger Hunt at St. Patrick’s Parade
Eighth Street, downtown Holland
Saturday, March 11, following the parade (pick up clues from 11 a.m. to noon in front of The Curragh, 73 E. Eighth St.)
Cost: Free
The Holland Youth Advisory Council is sponsoring a Scavenger Hunt immediately following the St. Patrick’s Parade on March 11. This event is free and for all ages. Pick up your clues in front of The Curragh from 11 a.m. to noon or from HYAC students walking up and down Eighth Street. Immediately after the parade, you can follow the clues to stores or restaurants on Eighth Street, where an HYAC student will hand out candy or trinkets and stamp your clue card. The first 10 participants to get all of their stamps will receive a gift card from a local merchant. Ádh mór (good luck to you).

Week 2 (March 12–18)

‘All God's Children: Faith that is LGBTQ+ Affirming’

Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Sunday, March 12, 4–5:30 p.m.
Panel discussion on "biblical support for inclusion of all God's children." The event is "a space for learning how to have a more expansive and inclusive faith and is not intended to be a debate." Panelists include Barry Bandstra, the Rev. Bethany Joy Winn, Christina Breen, David Myers, the Rev. Jen Adams, and Sonrisa Cortes (moderator). Co-sponsored by All One Body, Room for All, Out On The Lakeshore, Grace Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, and United Church of Christ congregations of Hudsonville, Douglas, and Holland.

Free Popcorn and Movie: ‘Hidden Figures’ in Spanish
Holland Momentum Center, 345 W. 14th St., Holland
Monday, March 13, 5:30–7 p.m.
Cost: Free
Free popcorn and a movie: "Hidden Figures," the story of three African American women "who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit." Rated PG for thematic elements and some language. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Details: Call 616-414-9111

‘Maps and the Making of Early Michigan’
Pillar Church, Ninth Street and College Avenue, Holland
Monday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
The Holland Area Historical Society will host a “Marking Space, Marking Place: Maps and the Making of Early Michigan” program at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 13. Grand Valley State University history professor Matthew Daley will present at Pillar Church in Holland about an ambitious surveying effort to map the state, laying the groundwork for statehood and creating lasting images and knowledge of a wild and beautiful place.

Killer Queen
Holland Civic Center Place, 150 W. Eighth St., Holland
Tuesday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $43 and up
Lead singer Patrick Myers says, “That first show changed my life. We thought our band would last maybe a summer at the most, but it's a very addictive thing performing these songs. The concerts grew and grew, and we've ended up playing and selling out the same arenas that Queen played at their peak. … It's really got its own kind of magic going on there.”

‘Dogs!’ A Tail-Wagging Musical
Central Park Place, 421 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Friday, March 17, 7:30–9 p.m.; Saturday, March 18, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 19, 2:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 adults, $10 students and seniors
The Central Park Players presents a tail-wagging musical about everyone's best friend. Here's a tail-wagging musical about everyone's best friend. Ralph, a lonely guy, and Angel, a special gal from "Up North," who care for homeless dogs at the city animal shelter. Each dog has a special story to share. You'll meet Fifi, Rover, Daisy, and the gang, all longing to be adopted. Only Max, with a leather jacket, greased-back ears, and sunglasses, is too cool to admit he wants a home also. Time at the shelter is limited, and only a miracle can save the furry characters. 

Grand Haven Spring Artisan Market
Central Park Place, 421 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Saturday, March 18, 2023, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Shop amazing local artists, vendors, and crafters in one spot. Get ready for spring and plan ahead for Mother's Day. Bring a friend and save the date.

Muskegon St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Downtown Muskegon
Saturday, March 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Presented by the Greater Muskegon Jaycees. The fun, family-oriented parade marches down Western Avenue from 6th to 2nd streets in downtown Muskegon. And, there is a great cause behind it. Entry fees to participate in the parade are non-perishable food and pantry items — and spectators are encouraged to bring them, too. Volunteers will push shopping carts along the parade route to collect the items. There also will be collection barrels located along the parade route. So, grab some canned goods and get gussied up in your green garb. Watch the floats, marching bands, dogs, and live music, catch some candy, and cheer for this year’s grand marshall.
Many other events are on the calendar for the week of St. Patrick’s Day in Muskegon. For more information, visit
Other activities include:
Go Green! Scavenger Hunt:
Shamrockin’ in Your Shanty: 
See the Book of Kells:
St. Paddy’s Day Celebration:

St. Paddy’s Leprechaun Chase Fundraiser
Centennial Park, Ninth Street and Columbia Avenue, Holland
Saturday, March 18; 8:30 a.m., Wee Chase; 9 a.m., 5K
Cost: 5K, $35; Wee Chase, free (registration ends March 13)
Kick off your St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Saturday, March 18 at the eighth annual St. Paddy's Leprechaun Chase 5K run. Participants are encouraged to wear green outfits and Irish costumes for the occasion. This is a fundraising event of Holland Running Club with proceeds benefiting the West Michigan Chapter of myTEAM TRIUMPH, an organization that is dedicated to providing the experience of road racing to individuals with disabilities.

Shamrock Walk & Roll
Wick’s Park Bar & Grille,  449 Water St., Saugatuck
Saturday, March 18, 10:45 a.m.
Cost: $10–$50 per person
Continue your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration with the Shamrock Run, Walk, or Roll on Saturday, March 18. Participants are encouraged to dress in green or their favorite Irish costume. There will be a prize for the most spirited. Afterward, registrants may enjoy a complimentary beverage. Better yet, plan to stay for lunch. Even better yet, stay in town for the Shamrock Crawl. This is a fundraising event for Operation Hope For Allegan Youth, a local nonprofit committed to giving all youth of Allegan County a chance to excel at extracurricular activities.
Check out the annual Shamrock Crawl at

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Pipeline Smokehouse and Bar, 9104 U.S. 31, West Olive
Saturday, March 18, 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $10
We will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day honkytonk style. Wear your green, and come scoot those boots. We will have festive featured drink specials and, of course, green beer. Included with your cover charge is an all-you-can-eat Irish buffet. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Week 3 (March 19–25)

Free Family Movie at the Frauenthal, ‘Black Widow’
Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Sunday, March 19, doors open at 2:15 p.m., movie beings at 3 p.m.
Cost: Free
The Frauenthal Center invites everyone to attend their family-friendly entertainment series featuring free family movies inside the beautiful and historic Frauenthal Theater. This month's movie is “Black Widow,” in which Natasha Romanoff must reconnect with her former allies to take down a notorious assassin after being separated from her Avengers team.

Community Film Festival — Art Out Loud
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 6575 138th Ave., Holland
Friday, March 24, 6–8 p.m.
Cost: Free
Find inspiration and all-ages fun on Friday for the kickoff of Art Out Loud at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park on March 24. Beginning at the State Park parking lot, stroll down Beach Trail for a lantern-lit family-friendly hike. Grab a coffee or hot chocolate to fuel up for the adventure, then join the Saugatuck Center for the Arts at its new Mobile Art Truck for a make-and-take project crafting a paper lantern.

Community Film Festival — Art Out Loud
Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck
Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: $12–$32
Adventure and art collide on the big screen and beyond at the annual Art Out Loud Community Festival, featuring Mountainfilm on Tour at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts on March 25. Take a deep dive into cultures, stories, and traditions from around the globe through film, music, food, and more. Art Out Loud is the intersection of visual, audio, and performance art — an immersive experience that engages all senses and highlights the impact of artful collaboration. Films featured during the festival include “Big Green World,” “Indomitable Spirit,” and “The Medley.”

Indoor Farmers Market
Holland Civic Center Place, 150 W. Eighth St., Holland
Saturday, March 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Get your fresh fix all winter long at the Indoor Farmers Market. Stay warm and cozy inside the Holland Civic Center while you shop from over 25 of our regular farmers and vendors. At the Indoor Market, you can shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and baked goods, honey, maple syrup, meat, jams and jellies, gourmet specialty foods, and so much more.

Easter Egg Hunt
Moran Park, at the corner of Pine Avenue and 22nd Street, Holland. 
Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.
Cost: Free
The Holland Youth Advisory Council is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt. The event is open to all kids under 10 years old. Along with the hunt for Easter eggs, kids can create a chick, lamb, bunny and Easter egg with stickers.

Week 4 (March 26–31)

Merchants and Makers Bargain Market
Trillium Events Center, 17246 VanWagoner Road, Spring Lake
Sunday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $3 to enter
Bargain shop to your heart's content at Trillium Events Center. Terrific tunes by Bri Baron. Fabulous food and drinks by Trillium. We cannot wait to see you on Sunday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trillium Events Center in Spring Lake. Every maker in attendance will have deals going on at this bargain market. Organizers are collecting non-perishable food items for The Momentum Center's Micro-Pantry. Some of the door fees will be donated to the center and the Arbor Circle Foster Parent Support Fund.

HSYO Spring Concert
West Ottawa Harbor Lights Middle School, 1024 136th Ave, Holland
Sunday, March 26, at 3 p.m. 
This Spring Concert features the many students involved in the Holland Symphony Youth Orchestra program.

‘Celebrating Glorious Music’
Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Sunday, March 26, 6 p.m.
Cost: $13 adults, $8 students
Join the West Michigan Symphony Children's Choir and the Debut & Premier String programs for their annual joint concert. Showcasing the talents of youth throughout West Michigan, these symphony youth programs highlight the talented young musicians and singers we have and the passion and excitement they find in music. Come and meet these amazing young artists.

Great Performance Series: Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Quartet
Knickerbocker Theatre, 86 E. Eighth St., Holland
Friday, March 31, 7:30-9 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $26; seniors, Hope faculty and staff, $22; children 18 and younger, $7; Hope students, free
This is your chance to catch one of the fast-rising stars in jazz. NPR calls Camille Thurman "a rare jazz double threat." A vocalist and tenor sax player, she is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist. Her rich saxophone sound has been compared to Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon, while her vocal approach — including an impressive scatting ability — has been classified alongside those of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter. As for her playing, All About Jazz calls her "a first-class saxophonist that blows the proverbial roof off the place."

‘Resilience’ Women of Color United Focus Exhibition
At Kruizenga Art Museum, 271 Columbia Ave., Holland
Through April 9, Tuesdays–Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
In celebration of Women’s History Month, 11 objects are works of and by women of color and were selected and interpreted by the Hope College multicultural student organization Women of Color United. “Resilience” will feature artworks representing the strength and resilience of women throughout time and changing circumstances. Labels for the artworks and a brief statement introducing the exhibition were written by members of WOCU, illuminating the thoughts behind their selections for the exhibition.

Need suggestions for specific destinations or activities, check out these tourism resources for details:
Holland Area Visitors Bureau
Grand Haven CVB
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation
Saugatuck CVB
Allegan County Parks & Recreation
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Read more articles by Melody Wilson.