Let the countdown begin.

SIX DAYS AND COUNTING: We’re just days away from the start of Lent – March 6 is Ash Wednesday, which means the traditional Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras celebration is right around the corner. Indulge in a traditional jelly or cream filled donut, called Paczki (pronounced POONCH-key) and celebrate Nawlin’s style with a beer and a bowl of gumbo.

18 DAYS AND COUNTING: Get set for one of the biggest drinking holidays when St. Patrick’s Day arrives on Sunday March 17. The 2019 SaPaDaPaSo Parade kicks off at 1:00 p.m. in downtown Cedar Rapids where the pubs and taverns will be full of smiling Irishmen and women enjoying a pint or two and perhaps a bit of Irish Stew.

21 DAYS AND COUNTING: The first day of spring arrives on Wednesday, March 20 and we’re hoping for a weather forecast with temperatures above freezing to usher in the new season. Even if the start of spring is cold and damp, it’s always fun to officially kick winter to the curb.

35 DAYS AND COUNTING: On Thursday April 4 the Cedar Rapids Kernels open the 2019 baseball season with a KRNA Thirsty Thursday promotion, the first of three consecutive Thursday home games at Perfect Game Field in Veteran’s Memorial Park. Look for bigger TV giveaways with First Federal Credit Union and some news about a big summer concert coming to the ballpark in July.

37 DAYS AND COUNTING: Finally, the weekend of April 6 marks the climatic return of the Final Four and NCCA Men’s Basketball Championship game on Monday April 8. Nothing signals the end of winter more decidedly than the excitement of college basketball season…and this year both the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones show real promise of going deep into the tournament.