St. Patrick’s Day
Happy (almost) holiday
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Like most occasions Bellingham wholeheartedly embraces and enthusiastically celebrates, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a proper holiday. The banks are open, kids have to go to school, no one gets the day off work.
Unless, of course, March 17 falls on a Sunday, as it does this year. In that instance, not only do we get to pretend it’s a legit holiday, but we also get to celebrate it all weekend long.
In that case, we should kick the whole thing off with a parade.
Thanks to Bellingham’s own community-minded party leprechaun, Janet Lightner, we can do just that.
The longtime Boundary Bay Brewery general manager and known purveyor of fun had long since turned her brewpub into ground zero for celebrating St. Pat’s when she decided to take the party to the streets and found the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Now several years into its existence, the downtown procession is a nonprofit with the dual goals of safety and sustainability. And in keeping with Lightner’s trademark come-one, come-all ethos, the parade is open to anyone who’d like to participate, whether by float, bike or foot (alternative forms of transportation are encouraged). This year’s event takes place at noonish on Sat., March 16, and will be led through the downtown core by Grand Marshal Alice Clark, executive director of the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, and her crew of green-clad biker ladies.
Conveniently, the parade’s terminus is at Boundary Bay Brewery, where St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated all weekend long in every single available square foot that is not the kitchen or bathrooms. Irish food will be on the menu (come to me, corned beef and cabbage), pints of potent beer will be pulled, and music and dancing will be happening wherever you look. Saturday’s parade after party will feature the Devilly Brothers and Bellingham Fiddle Club providing the soundtrack in the Mountain Room for the Opus Dancers and the McLaughlin Irish Dancers, and the beer garden will take a break from its winter hiatus to host Flattery and the Bellingham Pipes and Drums Band. But that’s just the warm-up for Sunday’s happenings, which all fall under the general heading of “shenanigans.” Music in the taproom begins at 11am with Evan Ingalls, followed by Gallowglass, the Bellingham Pipes and Drums Band (twice), Robt Sarazin Blake in a couple of forms (first with Peter Blake and Aaron Malcomb, and later with the Dublin Letters, who bear a striking resemblance to the Paddywhackers of St. Pat’s past), and more. The fleet-footed Penk O’Donnell Irish Dancers will send their curls flying with swift stepping at regular intervals throughout the day like the ladies of the dance that they are. No surprise, the crowds at Boundary for this particular party tend to be massive and wait times can be long. But I speak from experience when I say the food and drink are more than worth the wait, and the party definitely spills into the foyer and sometimes out on the sidewalk. There’s more than enough Erin go Bragh to go around at Boundary. Where: 1107 Railroad Ave. Info: http://www.bbaybrewery.com
But Boundary is hardly the only game in town come March 17. Bellingham is home to a proper Irish pub, after all, and they’ve got a full weekend of whatdoings planned as well. I’m referring, of course, to Uisce, and St. Patrick’s Day serves not just as a glowing green beacon on their calendar, but also their anniversary. As befits such an auspicious occasion, the party starts early on Saturday, when they’ll open the pub’s doors prior to the parade before continuing the party afterward with Giants’ Causeway and the very busy Bellingham Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band. On St. Patrick’s Day they’ll welcome Flattery, the Moving Hats, Maguire’s Kick, and the Devilly Brothers, along with Irish dancers and, yes, another appearance by the now possibly inebriated and definitely exhausted Pipes and Drums Band, whose musical skill is matched only by their stamina. Buy them some Irish whiskey or a pint of Guinness before they rush off to their next stop. Where: 1319 Commercial St. Info: http://www.facebook.com/uisceirishpub
But wait, there’s more. Because you’ll also find Irish music and ample quantities of corned beef at Skylark’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party. And Whiskeythieves and Dreos will take the stage at the Shakedown, where I can only hope for green Jell-O shots and for the bar’s Irish owner to make jokes at my expense because of that (sorry, Marty). At the Firefly Lounge, Gallowglass will play on Saturday and Gallowmaker will appear Friday, and if you happen to confuse the two, you’ll figure it out pretty quick, but you should stick around anyway. As ever, I’ll be marking the almost-holiday by pinching people, so either get your green on or get out of my way.
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