Top weekend events: St. Patrick's Day parade and festival, International Mariachi Festival, 'Tragedy of Carmen'

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the festival and 10:30 a.m. for parade, both on Saturday. Balboa Park at Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street.

Celebrate the patron saint of Ireland at Balboa Park this weekend with the 37th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which begins at Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street and is “Celebrating the Women of the World.” Radio stations, high schools, car clubs, military groups, police and fire departments, and roller derby teams will all take part in the parade beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Irish Festival, inside the park, starts at 9 a.m. and features live entertainment on two stages, music, dancing, Irish food, rides and games for kids, a beer garden (where service dogs are allowed), a Celtic village and an art contest to highlight Irish culture. The 3rd West Cork Brigade, a Celtic re-enactment group, will join this year’s festivities. LISA DEADERICK

Cherry Blossom Festival

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday. Japanese Friendship Garden, 2215 Pan American Road E., Balboa Park. $10 adults; $8 for students, seniors (65 and over) and active-duty military with ID; $12 presale grants priority admission. (619) 232-2721 or

Satisfy your yen for Japanese culture and hospitality with a visit this weekend to the 12th annual Cherry Blossom Festival — Sakura Matsuri — at Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden. Organizers are preparing to welcome close to 9,000 guests to the family-friendly weekend, filled with cultural performances, demonstrations, food vendors and hanami, the ancient custom of flower viewing. Tea garden admission is an additional $6; admission to the beer and sake garden adds $15. CYNTHIA ZANONE

San Diego Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar Arena, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Free; parking is $13.

Students from San Diego County and around the world will pit their design and building skills against one another in the regional level of the First Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition. The event kicks off with opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Del Mar Arena Fairgrounds. Students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” and create a robot to perform tasks against a field of worthy opponents. About 83,000 students on 3,336 teams in 25 countries will compete in 55 regional events and 80 district competitions this year. Students vie for a spot at the world championships planned for April in Houston and St. Louis. CAROLINA GUSMAN

“Honky Tonk Laundry”

7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 1 p.m. Sundays. Through March 26. Vista’s Broadway Theater, 340 E. Broadway, Vista. $25.50. (760) 806-7905 or

Writer-director Roger Bean (“The Marvelous Wonderettes”) created this musical comedy 12 years ago in Milwaukee. Now, he directs his original stars — Misty Cotton and Vista’s own Bets Malone — in the Broadway Theater’s updated production of the show, featuring songs by Patsy Cline, Carrie Underwood and more. JAMES HEBERT

Festa Della Donna

4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Cucina Enoteca, 2370 Via de la Valle, Del Mar. $68. (858) 704-4500 or

If sisterhood is powerful, then Cucina Enoteca’s annual celebration of women is going to be a veritable culinary and philanthropic knockout. Tracy Borkum, owner of the Del Mar restaurant, has lined up eight of San Diego’s most notable female chefs and eight top female winemakers, brewers and distillers for the third — and biggest yet — Festa Della Donna. All of the proceeds of Sunday’s event will benefit two local charities that support women, the Center for Community Solutions and the Lawyers Club of San Diego Fund for Justice. MICHELE PARENTE

8 p.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday at the Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway, downtown. $32-$105. (858) 272-8663 or

Hallelujah, the Hebrew expression for “Praise the Lord,” is familiar in music, such as the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah” and Leonard Cohen’s omnipresent song. The expression also fuels the rhythms of “Hallelujah Junction,” one of four ballets showcased this week in City Ballet of San Diego’s “Balanchine and Beyond.” Peter Martins’ “Hallelujah Junction,” set to John Adams’ score of the same name, has been called a living locomotive. The artistic director of New York City Ballet utilizes delayed repetition between two pianos. Rhythms are based on the word “hal-le-lu-jah.” KRIS EITLAND

Johann Sebastian Bach concert series

La Jolla Music Society Presents Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra: “J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation”

8 p.m. Friday (pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m.) at Sherwood Auditorium, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla. $30-$80. (858) 459-3728 or

Bach Collegium San Diego Presents Nell Snaidas & Julie Andrijeski, “Agony & Ecstasy: Bach’s Muses”

7:30 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday (pre-concert lecture at 2 p.m.); Saturday at All Souls’ Episcopal Church, 1475 Catalina Blvd., Point Loma; Sunday at St. James-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 734 Prospect St., La Jolla. $37.92-$53.74; student and senior discounts available. (619) 341-1726 or

Serendipity and a shared passion for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach have inspired an unprecedented concert series from three well-established San Diego arts organizations. “Sounds of the Baroque” presents four early-music concerts, through Tuesday. Last September, Greta Treadgold, president of the San Diego Early Music Society, realized that for this March’s Early Music Month, they weren’t alone in scheduling Bach-centered programs. The La Jolla Music Society and Bach Collegium San Diego were also planning to honor the revered composer, born March 21, 1685. The planned concerts — two on the same date — all featured respected artists. A flurry of phone calls and meetings ensued, as Treadgold sought to coordinate with the La Jolla Music Society and Bach Collegium. It was suggested that the concerts be preceded by lectures. The lectures will be by former Union-Tribune classical music critic James Chute. BETH WOOD

Brian Alexander book event

6 p.m. Friday. West Grove Collective, 3010-B Juniper St., South Park. (619) 795-3780 or

Seventy years ago, Lancaster, Ohio, drew the attention of Forbes magazine, which celebrated the prosperous town and its Anchor Hocking glass factory as models of free enterprise. “This is America,” the magazine declared. Lancaster is also where San Diego journalist Brian Alexander grew up, and when he went back to see how his hometown has fared after all these years, he found a different American story for a different American time. Globalization, corporate raiders, low wages, a heroin epidemic — it’s all part of a devastating downturn documented in Alexander’s new book, “Glass House.” Fellow author Beth Macy(“Factory Man,” “Truevine”) says the book “should be required reading for people trying to understand Trumpism, inequality, and the sad state of a needlessly wrecked rural America.” JOHN WILKENS

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