St. Patrick's Day

Where to get lucky

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

For most of the parts of the world that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the party starts Fri., March 17—you know, on St. Patrick’s Day.

That’s not how we do things here.

In fact, by the time you read this, we will have already been engaging in St. Patrick’s Day revelry for several days.

Thanks to Boundary Bay’s Janet Lightner, who is possibly part leprechaun, St. Patrick’s Day 2017 is a weeklong event, which began Sat., March 11 with—what else?—a parade through the streets of downtown, followed by Irish music and dancers at the beloved brewpub.

The party—or as the folks at Boundary have dubbed it, “shenanigans”—continues on St. Patrick’s day proper with an all-day lineup of music that begins with Peadar MacMahon, concludes with two sets of Robert Sarazin Blake (first with the Gouran Girls and then with the Dublin Letters), and features Giants Causeway, Gallowglass, James Higgins, Irish dancers, and more in between. The Bellingham Firefighters Pipes & Drums ensemble will play as well, part of a day in which they can be spotted in their natty kilted glory all over town. Related, I’ve done a decent sampling of the corned-beef-and-cabbage offerings around town, and Boundary’s is among the very best.

But Boundary is hardly the only place getting in on the St. Pat’s action this year. Not to be outdone is Uisce, who will throw the kind of party befitting Bellingham’s only Irish bar. Peadar MacMahon will also show up there, as will the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes & Drums, and they’ll bring Flattery and the Devilly Brothers with them. Wash down your music with a couple of fingers of Irish whiskey or an expertly poured pint of Guinness. Thank St. Patrick for driving the snakes from the Emerald Isle, even though scientific data suggests snakes never inhabited post-glacial Ireland.

Should you want to spend St. Patrick’s Day on the Southside, you’ll be happy to know that Skylark’s is continuing its yearly tradition throwing Fairhaven’s finest party, with whiskey on special, Guinness on tap, live music from Leaps and Bounds on the entertainment docket, and 300 pounds of piping-hot and delicious corned beef ready for your eating pleasure. Get there early before I show up and eat 299 pounds of it. St. Patrick’s day comes but once a year, after all.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a musical holiday in Bellingham without Polecat showing up and throwing down somewhere, and as they have in the past, they’ll be stomping and step-dancing at the Green Frog. Because their enthusiasm for going green cannot be contained to one show, they’ll play twice on St. Patrick’s Day—the first show kicks off at 7pm with Giants Causeway (one of multiple appearances for them as well) before Polecat plays for the all-ages crowd. After a short break, both bands will return for the night’s 21-and-older installment. Not only do the back-to-back shows help satiate the band’s well-known appetite for holiday high jinks, but the night will also serve as their seven-year anniversary. In case you’re wondering what to get them, the traditional gift is either wool or copper, so plan your offerings accordingly. Speaking of planning, at press time, both shows were close to selling out, so don’t show up at the door and think the luck of the Irish will get you in.

With St. Patrick’s Day happening on a Friday, this is only the smallest sampling of the many, many means by which you can Erin go Bragh all over town. You won’t have to go far to get lucky.

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