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Annalise Mathers | Fulcrum Contributor

YOU MAY NOT be Irish, but you’re still in luck this weekend—there are plenty of awesome events to check out leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Come out to one of the biggest university fundraisers this year, get your artistic fix, and have a drink (or several) on St. Patty’s.

Friday, March 15
Artists from Ottawa, Hull, and other Canadian cities play at Café Alt tonight. Cheap beer from local brewery Kichesippi will be available to complement the mellow tunes. Tickets can be purchased for $5 in advance at Café  Alt or for $8 the night of at the door.
Tonight is the Relay for Life event for the University of Ottawa. Even if you didn’t sign up with a team, you can still go at any point during the evening to show your support for a great cause. The overnight event starts at 7 p.m. and will go until 7 a.m. Saturday, with funds being raised in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. The relay path will start in the university centre and circle a section of campus, inside and out. In the university centre’s terminus there will be a concert, a dance party, a poetry slam contest, games, movies, crafts, food, a photo booth, reptiles on display, and Starbucks coffee to keep you energized. Later in the night, a luminary ceremony will be held in honour of those who have passed away from cancer. The Relay for Life fundraiser a great opportunity to get some fresh air, meet new people, and help support a worthwhile cause.

Saturday, March 16
Make sure you’re prepared for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations tomorrow—pick up some cheap green swag at the Cyrville or Bank Street Value Village. You can also go to the Rideau Centre, where plenty of shops have stocked up on green items galore. Try Happy Daze or Buck or Two for accessories. While you’re at the mall, grab a bite to eat at Richtree Market. You have the choice of a delicious sit-down meal or placing a quick order à la carte from their huge selection of baked goods, pizza, salads, smoothies, and more.
If the mall didn’t quite quench your shopping thirst, check out Secret Whispers, a new Ottawa business offering handmade and vintage jewellery at awesome prices. Visit xo-secretwhispers.tumblr.com/ to see their products and place an order—you can either have your purchases personally delivered to you on campus or arrange for them to be shipped.
Spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon at the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery (110 Laurier Ave. W.). The gallery is mere steps away from campus and is currently exhibiting a collaboration by U of O visual arts prof Lorraine Gilbert and student Christopher Varady-Szabo. Some of their pieces have also been featured at the National Gallery in Ottawa and in various locations in Amsterdam. The exhibit of photographs and drawings, entitled Arbor Vitae, is free for students to attend and will be on display until April 7.

Sunday, March 17
Yes, we’re in the home stretch of the semester. Yes, there are labs, papers, and midterms to slog through before the end of the term. But take a break, because March 17 is one day you won’t want to miss out on. St. Patty’s,  one of the most cherished university holidays, invites students to express their appreciation of beer and all things green. Sandy Hill will be crawling with house parties, while the ByWard Market will be full of rowdy folk of all ages. Go early to secure a spot in one of the many Irish pubs, like the Royal Oak or the Aulde Dubliner. Enjoy Celtic music and dancing, and really participate by guzzling green beer coupled with a glass or two of Guinness. Just make sure you balance out the drinks with some pub grub—we recommend deep-fried pickles in honour of the day—and don’t forget to plan a safe way to get home. Party responsibly, students. Even if you aren’t crazy for beer, go for a walk downtown to see the festivities—the only other holiday when the Market is this busy is Canada Day. St. Patty’s is a true drink-all-day event, and many bars and clubs will be open until the wee hours of the morning for those looking to see if they have the luck of the Irish.