I love it when you call me Big Paddy | VailDaily.com

I love it when you call me Big Paddy

Cassie Pence
Illustratioin by Dawn Beacon/Vail Daily

St. Paddy’s Day brings out the Irish in us all – no matter if we’re German, American or Jamaican.It’s because the holiday is so easy to celebrate. How can anyone pass up a whole day of drinking beer, eating hearty foods and dancing with a stomp in their step? The Irish just no how to do it.But truthfully, it’s the Americans that have taken St. Paddy’s Day to the next level of debauchery. We’ll happily speak in our best Celtic toungue to get drunk during the day. St. Paddy’s Day is our greatest excuse. The weekend is filled with parties anchored on this very idea. Where revelers take their Irish journey is up to them, but I suggest they start their jig at one of our valley’s three Irish pubs.

Owned by real Irish lady Maggie Parker and her husband, Jim, who’s from England, Finnegan’s Wake promises to throw the valley’s most authentic St. Paddy’s Day party, which began Thursday.Tonight, Jonny Mogambo riles up the crowd starting at 6 p.m. with sing-along covers and originals. He knows whiskey, and he likes it, but he also knows how to enertain a crowd. It’s just hard not to have fun when this musician takes the stage. At 7:30 p.m., the beautiful Guinness girls arrive to host a dart tournament and to hand out SWAG (Stuff We All Get), including hockey jerseys, free beers, bags and even ski coats. Then Big Paddy takes the stage at 9:30 p.m., playing traditional and original Celtic licks.Saturday marks the real celebration. Bright and early, from 9-11 a.m., Finnegan’s will serve an Irish breakfast of two rashers of bacon, two Irish sausages, two eggs over easy, soda bread, tomatos and fried potatoes. The kegs of Guinness, Harp and Smithwicks will already be tapped, or people can slurp down a bloody mary made with peppercini-infused vodka.The party continues at 1 p.m. when Dave Perron takes the stage, followed by a performance by members of the Reed School of Irish Dance.”It’s a traditional Irish dance troupe. Stomp dance. They’re in all the big parades, like the Macy Day Parade,” general manager Randall Knipmeyer said. Music continues from 4-6 p.m. with Brendan McKinney, the dancers return at 6 p.m. and Mogambo again ushers in the night until 9:30 p.m. Guinness girls return with more SWAG and prizes, while Big Paddy closes out the night.”We’re pretty upbeat rocking Irish music,” Jon Sherman said, who along with Sean Gaughan, form the band. “Lyrically, Irish music tends to be deep in subject matter about real life experiences that people can relate to. Our originals are very light, good time songs.”In the past, Finnegan’s has been one of the busiest bars for St. Paddy’s Day with a line of people out the door. This year, Knipmeyer has set up two bars out on the deck and plent of sattelite bars.”There’s not a problem getting service or drinks,” Knipmeyer said. “This is the place to be.”

One of the valley’s best kept secrets is the Irish pub Grouse on the Green in Cordillera. In the mid ’90s, the pub’s interior was designed and built in Ireland and then reassambled in Cordillera.”It’s all mahogony and quite beautifule,” general manager Aaron Truax said. “People’s first reaction is surprise at how authentic is looks.”Grouse on the Green’s true gem is its spacious deck, perfect for sunsets, which will be open with heaters for the St. Paddy’s Day party Saturday.”It’s the best view in the valley that people can drive to,” Truax said.Bluegrass band 3 Left Feet will play, $4 pints of Guinness, Harp and Smithwicks, along with $3 shots of Bushmill and Jameson. The food is also worth the drive to Cordillera. Grouse will serve $11 platters of corn beef and red cabbage, shepherd’s pie and halibut fish and chips.”Everything is made 100 percent from scratch,” Truax said.Guinness girls will be here too from 6-7 p.m., handing out free pints and SWAG. Doors open at 5 p.m. and reservations are needed for a party of six or more.

The bar where everyone knows your name, Paddy’s in Eagle-Vail throws their St. Paddy’s Day party Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. with big plates of corn beef and cabbage. No one is sure where Paddy’s got its Irish name, but the raucous clientel certainly fits the mold. There will be Irish music and of course a selection of Irish whiskeys.

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