Better than Flag Day, Columbus Day and Valentine's Day is St. Patrick's Day! It brushes toe to toe with the heavyweights like Thanksgiving and the almighty Christmas.

On those two holidays, though, arguments over who gets to carve the turkey and flight delays due to snow can occur. St. Patrick's Day is in the spring, meaning no bad weather in sight, plus the weather's irrelevant as you're likely to be in your favorite pub celebrating.

And quarrels? Well, the only donnybrook that'll occur is which individual in your parade of friends wants to order the next round of drinks.

Never has a day so celebrated by millions needed an actual weekend-long event of food, entertainment and beer to warm up for the main event of food, entertainment and, yes, beer.  

Prayers were answered in 2003, when the Friends of the Irish – a group of community organizations, performing groups, businesses and individuals – organized the Los Angeles County Irish Fair at the fairgrounds in Pomona. Now in its fifth year, the event sports an array of Celtic performances, traditional dance shows, information booths for Irish organizations, a market place for vendors selling Gaelic items and booths serving traditional Irish food and, yes, beer.

As you take in the largest festival of its kind, with a banger (sausage) in one hand and a corned beef sandwich in the other, take in the tradition, as the event will be the largest gathering of Irish clans in the U.S. No need to bother going through the history books either: an ancient Irish village will be recreated where artisans and entertainers will carry about is if it were Ireland of yesteryear.

If history isn't really your thing and you just want to have a good ole' time, then rest assured you'll be taken care of. Eight musical stages will be located throughout the fairplex, offering some choice Irish music and dance performances.

Slated to appear are the Wrath of Celtic Spring, the Young Dubliners and the McCartan School of Dance will offer up traditional Irish step dancing a la “Riverdance.” As your eyes are astounded by the rhythmic precision of all those happy feet tapping about, take note that your dreams in wanting to become the next Michael Flatley, the preeminent   Lord of the Dance, can take shape at the festival during demonstrations by the McCartan School and workshops by Michael Breen and The Los Angeles Irish Set Dances.

By the time you're able to muster the perfect one-two step around the festival looking at all things Irish, including that of the leprechaun village, Irish marketplace, sheep herding demonstrations, Irish Dog Show and an Irish sporting challenge, complete with flipping the cabor, throwing the hammer and tossing the stone (whew!), just remember to save some time for the grand finale: the only Irish elephant in the world.

It wouldn't be the largest Irish festival in the world without the world largest Irish animal.

The Pomona Fairplex is located at 1101 W. Mc Kinley Ave. in Pomona. Admission is $16 for adults, $12 for students. For more information, call (310) 537-4240 or visit