It will be a great weekend for the Irish at Maher's Irish Brew Pub in Lake Oswego.

Starting today at 5 p.m., the pub's annual St. Patrick's Day Festival will begin with the blare of Irish bagpipers and the stomping feet of Irish dancers, and the fun just keeps right on going through Sunday at 352 B Ave.

In just a couple years, the Maher family has turned St. Patrick's Day into a very big deal in Lake Oswego.

'It will be a real Irish event, run by real Irish people and with real Irish food,' said Gabrielle Maher, matron of the local Irish clan. 'People don't have to go into all of the big city craziness and traffic to enjoy St. Patrick's Day.'

A new big plus this year is that Maher's will be brewing its own beer, Maher's Dublin Ale, brewed by Mark Maher, who is bringing the same greatness to Lake Oswego brewing that he once did to Lake Oswego football. His family is proud of him.

'This will be Irish beer made by a real Irish guy,' Maher said of her son. 'Mark was born and raised in Dublin, and all of his family will be surrounding him as he brews the beer.'

Of course, Guinness will be available too. Maher noted that her family's pub sold more Guinness than any other establishment in the Portland Metro area in 2011.

'I'd say that is quite a feather in our cap, being a small place in Lake Oswego,' Maher said. 'That's not shabby.'

Actually, Maher's Pub only looks small from the outside. Inside, the cozy setting allows people to become friends quickly as they eat and drink. What is more, for this weekend's festival, the pub is using a tent to cover the patio area, allowing many more people to come for the fun.

Another new attraction for 2012 will be a free poker tournament on Sunday, starting at 8 p.m.

While enjoying themselves in the grand Irish tradition, festival patrons can also be philanthropists. Maher's is holding an Irish Dance Auction that will benefit Our Lady of the Lake School. One hundred percent of the profits will go toward the building of the school's new library and science building.

This is just the third year for the Maher's St. Patrick's fest, but Maher is proud of the great strides that have been made.

'Our first year was a huge success,' she said. 'We were over the moon about it. But we didn't have enough room for people. The second year (at their new location) was even better because people started coming from Sherwood, McMinnville and Beaverton.'

Gabrielle Maher is truly blessed with the Irish gift of gab, but she is not giving out blarney when she talks about the success of St. Patrick's Day in Lake Oswego.

'We have become so good,' Maher said. 'We have such a great atmosphere, and we've had such great support from the community, including many businesses and (LOPD) Chief Don Johnson.

'This event is what Lake Oswego needed.'

The festival opens at 3 p.m. both Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. For complete information about the festival, including hours, performers and menus, visit .

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