EAGLE COUNTY – Legend has it that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, wasn’t even born Irish. So no need to feel coy about celebrating the holiday without the heritage. Just slap on a shamrock, belly up for a Car Bomb and dig into some corn beef and cabbage.In Ireland, the holiday is a religious one. It marks St. Patrick’s death and the universal baptizing of Ireland. It has evolved into a more secular holiday, nowadays, a party to rejoice in everything Irish.”There’s not as much debauchery going on in Ireland on St. Paddy’s Day, but they do get hammered,” said Patrick Connolly of Eagle-Vail, whose dad lives in Bantry, Ireland.The celebration is undeniably bigger in the United States. The holiday got started here because Irish immigrants brought their traditions over. It wasn’t until 1737 in Boston that the immigrants really began reveling in a public way.I doubt anyone is going to die Gore Creek green, like they do every year to the Chicago River, but today the Vail Valley offers a whole grab bag of ways to celebrate Ireland.Irish pubs in the mountainsThere are two Irish-style pubs here in the valley: Paddy’s in Eagle-Vail and Grouse on the Green in Cordillera. In addition to their normal Irish delicacies Grouse on the Green, will offer prime rib, corn beef and cabbage and lamb stew, perfect to dip with their homemade soda bread.”My favorite is the Irish lamb stew. It’s so good. We use Guinness in it,” said Danny Hollenbeck, restaurant manager.The pub will also feature live music with Bill Davis and $3 Guinness.”St. Paddy’s Day is about keeping the Irish tradition alive and not using it as just an excuse to party. I appreciate celebrations when their due,” Hollenbeck said.Paddy’s has Guinness and Bass on tap. They will be serving up green beer and Car Bombs, which is when you take a half pint of Guinness in a beer mug and a shot filled with Irish whiskey topped with Irish cream and then drop the shot into the mug and chug immediately. The concoction is supposedly very delicious and smooth.”Everybody is usually eating a big plate of corn beef and cabbage, and we don’t have live band, but we’ll have Irish music going. It’s usually pretty busy and rowdy,” said Jen Brosch, who’s worked at Paddy’s the last three years.Paddy’s will be serving food all day, including its homemade soda bread, and happy hour from 3-6 p.m. offers two for ones.Music central partiesThere aren’t any traditional Celtic bands playing, though you never know what the St. Paddy’s spirit could do to musicians, but plenty of bars are featuring music-central celebrations.The Railbenders, appropriately playing whisky-drenched honky-tonk, perform at 8150 at 10 p.m.”It’s quintessential drinking music,” said Crawford Byers, talent booker for Club 8150.Chris Hawley, an acoustic rock solo act from California, will play Sandbar in West Vail for apres ski. Sandbar will be serving green beer, corn beef and cabbage and other authentic Irish dishes, like shepherd’s pie.”It’s going to be an all out party. I don’t have green clothes, but I’ll whip something up. Maybe I’ll die my hair green, but no promises,” said Dan Van Brummelen, manager. Jonny Magambo and his trio of funk and rock take to the stage later in the evening. Matt Spencer from the String Cheese Trio will join him on bass. Sandbar serves food until 1:30 a.m.Samana in Vail Village is showcasing a few musical heavy hitters. Wally Ingraham (Stockholm Syndrome, Tracy Chapman, Sheryle Crow) and Eric McFadden (Stockholm Syndrome and Parliament) with DJ Jon Nedza begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance. McFadden blew the crowd away for Street Beat early this winter. He manipulates an acoustic classical guitar to growl, cry, laugh and sing.Local favorites Little Hercules performs at the Sundance Saloon in Lionshead at 10 p.m. and Collect All Five opens for them starting at 9 p.m. The bands will jam together at about midnight. Closing its doors March 31 for good, days are limited to enjoy the “last of the real ski bars.””A lot of the younger people dress up for our party. They wear big, tall Jameson hats, big black Guinness cans on their head, green beads and some really get into it and paint their faces,” said Guido Gildroy, manager.Sundance opens at noon and will have drink specials, including $3 Irish coffees.Painting the village greenThe Tap Room at the top of Bridge Street in Vail Village opens at 10 a.m. to serve corn beef and cabbage and Irish stew to any early-hungry skiers. The celebration will continue until 2 a.m., featuring green beer, Coors light specials, and discounted Irish drinks. Everyone will be wearing green.”It’s a huge day for us. Besides New Year’s, it’s the biggest drinking day of the year. It’s awesome,” said Steve Kaufman, co-owner.Red Lion will host its usual apres-ski show with owner Phil Long at the mic from 4-7 p.m. and again from 9-11 p.m. The Guinness will be flowing and the Car Bombs will be chugging. You could call it the “Green Lion” tonight.Art’s Bar, where all the ladies hang out, will feature $2.50 green beers on the deck until it runs out and then drink specials all night. The locals hangout is located across the street from Pazzo’s Pizza.Other parties for lucky leprechaunsGore Range Brewery in Edwards will be dishing up corn beef and and cabbage and braised lamb shank. It will feature $2 green beers, $2 Jameson Shots and $4 Car Bombs. A deejay will spin from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.Bob’s Place in Avon, always attracting an eclectic bunch, will offer corn beef hash while it lasts, $3 pints of Guinness and $2 Smith Wicks.Don’t forget to pick up your traditional “Top of the Morning” green Vail Mountain shamrock stickers before you head out to the celebrations. It might avoid a pinch here and there.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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