By: Paige Greely
It is finally time to whip out that leprechaun hat and don your best green gear for it is once again time for St. Patrick’s Day!
But you may find yourself wondering, why do we celebrate an “Irish” tradition, when most of us are not actually Irish? And who was St. Patrick anyway? What did he do to deserve an annual holiday? For most of us, we do not know the history behind this holiday, but do not worry, we are here to finally shed some light on the celebration.
This tradition of celebrating the Catholic patron saint of Ireland began in the early 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have been taken captive from his home in Britain by Irish raiders and put into slavery watching over fields. This is where he is said to have “found God.” He ended up fleeing the country after the divine experience, but he soon returned, in hopes of converting the population that was predominantly pagan, into Catholics.
St. Patrick’s Day always takes place on March 17, the day in which he supposedly died and was buried. The holiday was traditionally meant to celebrate Ireland and it is culture, along with the important events of St. Patrick’s life.
The date, March 17, is right in the middle of the Roman Catholic period of fasting and reflecting called Lent. This forty-day period of remembering the hardships endured by leaders and followers of early Christianity is interrupted with this celebratory day, which in consequence, has made it a holiday more about partying and drinking, than one of remembrance.
So now that we know what we are celebrating, let us take a walk through the Fort Collins St. Patrick’s Day event calendar.
Begin the celebration at Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which kicks off at 10:00 a.m. Saturday March 12. The parade will take place on Walnut Street before heading south on College Avenue, east on Magnolia Street, north on Remington Street, before ending on Mountain Avenue. The parade consists of over 80 floats from an array of sponsors. Along with the parade, there will be the huge Old Town Irish Party from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on the intersection of Walnut Street and Linden Street. The party, hosted by Wilber’s Total Beverage, will obviously have beers on tap at the surrounding bars as well as some live Irish music by local bands. Admission to music inside the Lucky Joe’s Saloon is free, meaning all the more to spend on Guinness!
The Fort Collins’ McTeggart Irish Dancers will also be having multiple shows throughout the weekend and in many different locations, so definitely look out for that!
Besides Lucky Joe’s, Fort Collins has many other Irish pubs. Crown Pub and The Forge Publick House are similarly a must-visit on St. Patrick’s Day. The Crown Pub is located on 134 S College Ave. near the Aggie Theatre, and is not only a great stop for Guinness, but also for good food and a fun ambience. But do not worry, they do not only serve Irish pub grub– they offer a wide variety of tastes, so all will be satisfied. The interior of the pub has a very traditional Irish feel with its dim lighting, dark wood molding and fixtures topped off with green accents, the pub looks like it would fit right in back in Dublin.
The Forge Publick House is located in the Old Firehouse Alleyway between Linden and Pine Street. This somewhat secret pub is really tucked away, but do not let that deter you. It has a great selection of local and foreign beers on tap as well as different wines. When it is warmer outside, they open the back patio which has great conversation areas. The bar has a classic style with wooden fixtures and chalkboards displaying the lists of alcoholic options for customers. The one big thing to remember about the Forge Publick House is that it only takes cash. While there is an ATM inside it has a large fee when drawing out money.
If live music is what you are after this St. Patrick’s Day then Hodi’s Halfnote should be your first destination! On Friday March 13 they will host grassroots bands Von Stomper, Whiskey Tango and Evergreen Grass Band. Tickets and cover are $6.00 in advance and $10.00 the day of the show, though if you are under 21 there is an additional $5.00 charge. The small intimate venue really allows concert goers to feel they are a part of the music experience, while still being able to wave their hands in the air without smacking their neighbor in the face. On top of great bluegrass music there is also a full bar.
Fort Collins has a lot of fun things to offer this St. Patrick’s Day, so make sure to pull out that leprechaun hat, don your green and gold and drink as much Guinness as you want. Make St. Patrick proud!
Luck Joe’s Parade: http://downtownfortcollins.com/events/lucky-joes-st-patricks-day-parade
Crown Pub: http://www.crownpub.net/
McTeggart Irish Dancers: www.mcteggart.com