36th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade The Richmond strip is now the home of not only a Mardi Gras celebration but also a St. Patrick's Day parade. Kind of makes you wonder where the Art Car Parade will be this year.... In any case, what is being billed as the largest St. Patrick's Day parade west of the mighty Mississippi wanders from Rice to Unity (which sort of doglegs off Hillcroft) and includes 150 floats, bands, marching groups and revelers. Being the largest St. Patrick's Day parade west of the mighty Mississippi, this fete has got parades in deeply Irish enclaves such as Kansas City, Denver and Amarillo beat all to heck. Hurrah for us! Glenn Hart, majority owner of the Houston Aeros hockey team, is the grand marshal. 11:30 a.m. is when the parade gets rolling. This is a family event. For details, call 464-3315, and remember, parking will be horrible, arrive early and wear comfortable shoes.
Square-Rigger Olympics Since the 1877 tall ship Elissa docked in Galveston, she's been the site of many activities. This Olympics thing may be new. The idea is to show fans of the seafaring life that it's not, as Texas Seaport Museum director Kurt Voss puts it, "all slopping tar and swabbing decks." No, the volunteer crew members will hoist a mannequin in a bosun's chair, hoist it 200 feet up the mainmast, and return it safely to the deck of the Elissa. Other games include "man overboard!" drills, skiff racing, rig climbing and sail setting. Some games are tests of skill, others are timed events. The crew learned the ropes, so to speak, in a 12-weekend training program. Some of the volunteers who sail the iron barque are ordinary Houstonians, so they're all, basically, the home team. Come on out and pick favorites anyway, and cheer them on! 1 p.m. Texas Seaport Museum, Pier 21, Harborside Drive between 21st and 22nd, (409) 763-1877. $5.
Houston Parents' Grapevine Local authors and entrepreneurs Therese Hartwell and Rhonda Rhodes have published a comprehensive reference guide for Houston parents -- a sort of Dr. Spock meets The Underground Shopper. This afternoon, the authors will be signing copies of Houston Parents' Grapevine: A Guide to Local Resources for Expectant Parents and Parents of Young Children. 1:30-3 p.m. Waldenbooks, Northwest Mall, 682-2237.
St. Patrick's Day, again A tradition-packed, for-the-family celebration with bones and darts contests, sing-alongs, audience games and dance performances. For the kids, storytelling and games. Music will be played by Pat Egan (from Westport, Ireland), Godfrey's Rangers, The Gypsy Jig Band, the Highlander Pipe Band and the Houston Irish Session Players. If the music, and Irish and Ceili dancing, or perhaps just the sight of the Celtic arts and goods on display, give you the notion to learn a step or two, this might be the place. Moreover, the O'Maoileidigh Irish Dancers of Houston, whose dancers' ages range from six years old to older than they'll admit, will be on hand. 4 p.m. The Backyard Bar and Grill, 10200 South Main at the Loop, 861-3293. $5.
Chanticleer This 12-man a cappella ensemble offers us two chances to see a concert with Gregorian chants and barbershop classics. Some may find this juxtaposition of styles frightening. Others will enjoy the wide-ranging technical mastery these singers have with the forms they've chosen to present. Although there are two concerts, wise Chanticleer fans will order tickets early; the group's February medieval sacred repertory performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a sold-out smash. 4:30 and 7 p.m. Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, 6221 Main, 529-2029, extension 143. $25, $15 seniors and students.
Soul Patrol Some may think the members of the Houston Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants are dull or whatever, but they really are the type who get the job done. Their task for this day is to benefit the Houston Police Department's Soul Patrol, a support and scholarship program for kids. The idea is to get youth focused on education in the school, instead of all that nasty stuff on the streets. Children's television stars, and an HPD helicopter, will be part of tonight's fundraising gala. 6-9 p.m. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 622-7733. One $15 ticket admits one adult and two children.
Brown Bag Brainstorming Every Monday in March, the Houston Sun sponsors casual lunches for discussing issues facing the African-American press. These talks are led by Rodney Ellis, TSU professors and local journalists. Affirmative action, negative media coverage and how to coordinate coverage on positive stories are all among the topics to be discussed. Those wishing to participate may bring their own lunches, or call ahead and order a $10 boxed lunch (R.S.V.P. before noon Friday for the boxed lunch.) 11:30 a.m.12:45. The Houston Sun conference room, 1520 Isabella, 524-4474.
Corporate Etiquette Stop yourself from being a lumbering, crude heathen in the workplace. Although it may seem as though the opposite is true, lumbering crude heathens don't generally do well in business. Dee Elliott is the featured speaker at tonight's meeting of Professional Secretaries International and Elliott knows what you need to know to stop seeming like some weird alien life form, or a pompous ass, in your office. In the downsizing '90s, people are careful about doing anything that could possibly be construed as sexual harassment or that even looks like smoking, but corporate etiquette involves so much more. The meeting opens with networking (a positive minefield of possible faux pas) at 5:15, dinner at 6 p.m., and the business meeting and program afterward. Medallion Hotel, 3000 North Loop West (290 at North Loop). For reservations, call 792-4364. $18 non-members.