Chicago events calendar for March 2015. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in Chicago, Illinois.

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March 2015

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do in March 2015 with this calendar of events.

Events are listed by starting date, and all dates are confirmed. Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Polar Plunge

March 1, 2015

2 miles north

Join 2,000 who wade into the cold waters of Lake Michigan to support charity during Chicago Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach, or watch from shore.

Rhinofest fringe theater

March 1, 2015 (begins Jan. 10)

6.5 miles NW

Watch hundreds of artists perform at the Prop Thtr during Rhinoceros Theater Festival, billed as Chicago’s longest-running fringe festival. Cost.

Diving expo

March 1, 2015 (begins Feb. 27)

17 mile NW

Our World Underwater offers workshops for divers, films, diving-equipment, travel services, and a kids’ area at the Rosemont convention center. Cost.

Golf show

March 1, 2015 (begins Feb. 27)

17 mile NW

Hit balls with this year’s new clubs, take one-on-one full swing and putting lessons from pros, hear presentations, and shop for gear at the Chicago Golf Show at the Rosemont convention center. Cost.

Kids carnival

March 1, 2015 (begins Feb. 28)

40 miles west

Family Palooza has carnival rides, inflatables, games, stage shows, magicians, a petting zoo, climbing wall, and zip line at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

Irish film festival

March 1 - 7, 2015 (begins Feb. 28)

Chicago locations

Chicago Irish Film Festival focuses on the spirit of Irish culture at Music Box Theatre & Society for Arts.

Orchid Show

March 1 - 15, 2015 (begins Feb. 14)

24 miles north

See 10,000 blooming orchids on display at the Orchid Show, which includes weekend classes and Tuesday morning music at Chicago Botanic Garden. Cost.

Youth poetry festival

March 1 - 28, 2015 (begins Feb. 21)

Chicago locations

Louder than a Bomb is an Olympic-style poetry competition that gives Chicago youth a platform to share their stories and learn about others. Cost.

Award-winning musical

March 1 - 31, 2015 (Feb. 25 to May 17)

0.8 miles south

The Book of Mormon, winner of nine Tony Awards, is onstage at Bank of America Theatre. Discount tickets.

Award-winning musical

March 1 - May 17, 2015 (begins Feb. 25)

0.8 miles south

The Book of Mormon, winner of nine Tony Awards, is at Bank of America Theatre. Discount tickets.

Paper money expo

March 5 - 8, 2015

16 miles NW

Chicago Paper Money Exposition includes an auction and 85 booths of rare paper money, stocks, and bonds at Crowne Plaza in Rosemont. Free on Sunday.

Film festival

March 6 - 8, 2015

Greater Chicago area

One Earth Film Fest shows films about climate change, sustainability, and environmental activism.

Shopping-cart race

March 7, 2015

3 miles west

Shopping cart riders race through Wicker Park pulled by humans in the Chiditarod, on the same day the Alaska Iditarod dog-sled race begins. Donate food.

St. Patrick’s parade (west)

March 7, 2015

19 miles west

Celebrate Irish tradition with leprechauns, clowns, jugglers, dancers, bagpipes, marching bands, and floats at Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Free.

Children’s expo

March 7 - 8, 2015

27 miles NW

Kids get to play and be entertained, and their parents can find quality children’s products and services at the Chicagoland Kids Expo at Arlington International Racecourse. Cost.

Film festival

March 12 - 14, 2015

42 miles west

The Geneva Film Festival screens a variety of independent short and feature-length films from around the world in downtown Geneva. Cost.

Custom car show

March 13 - 15, 2015

17 miles NW

World of Wheels features hot rods, competition cars, specialty, and concept vehicles at the Rosemont convention center.
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St. Patrick’s Day bar crawls

March 13 - 17, 2015

Chicago locations

These events usually include drink specials and party souvenirs, with no cover charges at multiple bars.

St. Patrick’s parade (downtown)

March 14, 2015

1.3 miles south

The Chicago River flows green at 10 a.m. near Michigan Ave. & Wacker Dr. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at noon, rain or shine, at Balbo Ave. and goes north on Columbus Dr. to Monroe St. Free.

St. Patrick’s Festival

March 14, 2015

9 miles NW

After the big parade, enjoy Irish music, dance, food, activities, and gift shopping at St. Patrick's Festival at Irish American Heritage Center. Buy tickets Jan. 15.

Small-town craft fair

March 14, 2015

21 miles south

Community Expo & Spring Craft Fair has handmade arts and crafts, local business exhibitors, and kids’ activities at Prairie Junior High School in Alsip. Free.

Small press festival

March 14 - 15, 2015 (uncertain)

1.1 miles south

A zine is a cheap, self-published, underground publication. Chicago Zine Fest offers panel discussions Friday, and exhibitions by 200 writers, artists, and publishers Saturday at Columbia College. Free.

Maple sugar fair - Schaumburg

March 14 - 15, 2015

29 miles NW

Enjoy an outdoor pancake breakfast with real maple syrup and see how it’s made in a pioneer sugar camp at Sugar Bush Fair. Includes a puppet show, hayride, and food market in Schaumburg. Cost.

Maple sugar fair - Naperville

March 14 - 15, 2015

33 miles west

Watch maple tree tapping, taste a maple treat, learn to dance a reel, and join a scavenger hunt at Maple Sugaring Days at Naper Settlement. Cost.

Flower and garden show

March 14 - 22, 2015

1 mile east

Chicago Flower & Garden Show features 20 gardens, 100 vendors, cooking demonstrations, seminars, and a kids’ activity garden at Navy Pier. Cost.

St. Patrick’s parade (north)

March 15, 2015

13 miles NW

Northwest Side Irish Parade begins at Onahan School at noon and is free. Buy a ticket for the optional after-party for dinner and family fun.

St. Patrick’s parade (south)

March 15, 2015

17 miles south

South Side Irish Parade is on Western Avenue and goes south from 103rd to 115th St. Free.

Local food festival

March 19 - 21, 2015

2.5 miles SW

The Good Food Festival features locally grown food for sale plus gardening and cooking workshops and a Localicious dinner at UIC Forum. Cost.

Peaceful film festival

March 19 - 22, 2015

0.5 mile south

Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF) features works that raise awareness of peace, non-violence, social justice, and an eco-balanced world, at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater. Cost.

Science-fiction convention

March 19 - 22, 2015

1 mile south

Celebrate your inner geek at Chi-Fi with guests, musicians, panels, cosplay, games, vendors, and parties at the Palmer House hotel.

Tattoo convention

March 20 - 22, 2015

16 miles NW

Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention features live tattooing, sideshows, and entertainment at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Cost.

Pet expo

March 20 - 22, 2015

27 miles NW

Chicagoland Family Pet Expo features entertainment, exhibitors, and demos at Arlington Park Racetrack.

Pinot Noir tasting

March 21, 2015

1 mile east

Sample 100 pinots and meet the winemakers during Chicago Pinot Days in Lakeview Terrace at Navy Pier. Discount tickets.

Beer festival

March 21, 2015

1.5 miles SW

The Chicago Beer Festival features unlimited tastings in the afternoon or evening, with food sold separately, in Union Station. Repeats in Oct. Cost.

Flower show

March 22 - April 5, 2015

0.5 mile south

Macy’s Flower Show features 2 million flowers and exotic topiaries plus scheduled events at Macy’s on State Street. Free.

Quilt festival

March 26 - 28, 2015

17 mile NW

Shop for quilts and take mini-classes at International Quilt Festival in Rosemont convention center. Cost.

Burlesque competition

March 27, 2015

9 miles north

Burlypicks is a national burlesque and variety-act competition that begins at Parlour on Clark.

Shamrock 8K race

March 27 - 29, 2015

1.5 miles SE

The Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday is billed as the world’s largest timed 8K race. It starts and ends in Grant Park and includes a post-race party. The free Shamrock Shuffle Health and Fitness Expo is Friday and Saturday at Navy Pier.

Craft fair

March 28 - 29, 2015

27 miles west

Browse handcrafted goods from 150 juried exhibitors at Shower of Crafts Craft & Art Fair at College of Du Page in Glen Ellyn. Cost.

Brunch at Brookfield Zoo

March 28 - April 5, 2015

14 miles SW

Breakfast with the Bunny is an all-you-can-eat buffet and a visit with the Easter bunny March 28-29 and April 4. The gourmet Easter Brunch is April 5. Both are at Brookfield Zoo.

Creativity expo

March 2015 (undated)

0.4 miles south

Hear creative experts speak about arts, fashion, film, and food, and then visit vendor tables at Creative Chicago Expo at Chicago Cultural Center. Free.

Greek parade

March 2015 (undated)

1.5 miles west

The annual Greek Independence Day Parade begins at N Halsted St. & Randolph. Free.

Festival of writers

March 2015 (undated)

Chicago locations

Free Story Week offers readings, conversations with authors, panels, performances, and book signings.

St. Patrick’s run/walk

March 2015 (undated)

2.8 miles north

St. Paddy’s Day 5K & 8K Run/Walk in Lincoln Park begins near N. Cannon Drive & W. Fullerton. It ends with Irish music, entertainment, and refreshments.

St. Patrick’s race

March 2015 (undated)

19 miles west

Pre-register for the Lucky Leprechaun 5K, which begins in downtown Elmhurst and ends with a family friendly party outside Pints. Strollers OK but no dogs.
Next month:April 2015
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March 2015 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.     steve.cook@events12.com