NEXT Up features one person’s plans for the coming week. Stephan Bontrager, Director of Communications for Riverlife, shares his for the week of March 10.

This weekend’s a great example of that Pittsburgh dilemma of “too many cool things going on at once.” I hope you’ll forgive me for stretching out the parameters of the weekend a bit.

I’m starting early by hitting up the NEXTpittsburgh launch party in Bloomfield on Tuesday night.

Friday is the closing celebration for the excellent Carnegie International at Carnegie Museum of Art, one of the best contemporary art shows I’ve ever experienced. I especially enjoyed the collection of paintings by Nicole Eisenman in the upper mezzanine of the Hall of Sculpture. Catch the whole shebang before it wraps.

Saturday brings the St. Patrick’s Day parade starting Downtown at 10 a.m. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for 12 years now and only recently experienced the parade. I love it and I don’t know why I stayed away for so long–it’s family friendly, people are in a festive mood and it’s a fun excuse to go Downtown on the weekend. All sorts of activities happen in Market Square later in the evening for those looking for a more party-like atmosphere. After the parade, I’ll meet friends at a riverfront St. Paddy’s get-together in the Strip District, and then later head to Brillobox in Lawrenceville for drinks and dancing.

Sunday’s the day to relax and get in the right frame of mind, which starts off with sleeping in followed by brunch at any number of Pittsburgh restaurants like Coca Cafe or Casbah. After a weekend like that, I may finally be prepared to tackle my taxes.