North Texas Irish Festival
DALLAS Feb. 29-March 2
It seems silly to trek to Texas for Irish music, especially since there's plenty to go around in these parts. But like Boston, Dallas turns out to be a city with a deep love of Celtic sounds. The lineup for this year's celebration is still being pinned down, but the headliner has already been named: It's Altan, an Irish fiddle group from Donegal that has recorded with Bonnie Raitt and Dolly Parton. You'll also catch an act from back home, the folk duo Matt and Shannon Heaton of Medford. Tickets $10-$30.
Fair Park, Dallas, 214-821-4173, ntif.org.
Virginia Festival of the Book
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. March 26-30
Mike Farrell has been busy since his days as Captain B.J. Hunnicut on "M*A*S*H." Not only has he appeared on "Desperate Housewives," the actor has spent many of his post-sitcom years as a human rights advocate in places such as Cambodia and Honduras. On March 29, Farrell will be the headlining speaker at the Festival of the Book, where he'll talk about his memoir, "Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist" (RDV, 2007). Other writers at the festival include Walter Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins mystery series and other novels (March 30), and Marc Estrin, author of "Lamentations of Julius Marantz" (Unbridled, 2007) and part of a panel called "Nice Jewish Boys Gone Wild," on March 29. Most events free; Farrell talk $10.
Various venues, mostly downtown, 434-979-1333, vabook.org.
Atlantic City Beer Festival
As Bruce Springsteen might say, you can put your makeup on and make your hair look pretty for a weekend of hops and barley in Atlantic City. What's known to locals as the annual "celebration of the suds," features more than 250 beers made by 75 breweries, including Magic Hat, Dogfish Head, and our own Samuel Adams. There are three sessions (two on Saturday, one on Sunday). Each includes a few hours of drinking, live music, and "cooking with beer" demonstrations. Tickets $35 in advance, $5 for designated drivers.
Atlantic City Convention Center, 1 Miss America Way, Atlantic City, acbeerfest.com.
SAN FRANCISCO March 14
Every year the San Francisco Exploratorium celebrates pi, the mathematical ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, on March 14 at 1:59 p.m. On this year's Pi Day, you can visit the museum to hear an explanation of pi (3.14159265), eat pie (pizza and apple, most probably), and hear people sing pi songs. March 14 also happens to be Albert Einstein's birthday, so he'll get some geek love, too. Tickets $14 adults, $9 children ages 4-12.
Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon St., San Francisco, 415-561-0363, exploratorium.edu.
BUFFALO March 24
This Polish festival, which marks the end of Lent, promises "pussy willows, pivo, polkas, parades, parties, and a plethora of Polish pride." (Pivo means beer in several Slavic languages, in case you were wondering.) Think of it as St. Patrick's Day with more red than green. In Buffalo, which claims to be the Dyngus Day capital of the world, they celebrate with polka bands, dance performances, and Polish cuisine. There's also a parade, and based on last year's pictures, it should include people dressed up as sausages and an RV decorated to look like a giant accordion. A schedule of events will be posted online soon.
Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; call or check online to confirm. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.