The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration on this side of the pond happened in Boston in 1737, 19 years ahead of New York.
It’s satisfying to know that, even if NYC has a bigger parade.
Here’s another fun fact: though it’s been a public holiday in Ireland since 1903, the religious focus of the observance – Patrick was a saint, after all – kept Irish bars closed on March 17 until 1970.
It’s safe to say that we approach the “wearing of the green” differently, which explains why Guinness is pushing to make St. Patrick’s a US holiday with their “Proposition 3-17” effort.
There are probably more Irish-Americans than Irish, and they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with gusto, pouring dye in rivers (Chicago), canals (Indianapolis) and fountains (Savannah), while painting traffic lines and sometimes entire blocks Kelly green.
Our streams are too frozen for such antics, but there’s still plenty of local Irish energy.
If you can’t bear to party on a weeknight, Celtic Crossing plays the Chandler Music Hall Sunday night, but the real action is on Tuesday.
Good Celtic bands are doing double duty this year. Over at Okemo, Gypsy Reel is at the resort’s pub in the afternoon; later they serenade The Killarney, a lovely slice of the Emerald Isle.
Reaganta, a talented trio from Exeter, appear at the Holy Grail in Epping (2 PM) and Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough (7 PM).
O’hanleigh plays both Salt hill Pubs – 4 PM in Newport and 7 PM in Lebanon – as does the Chris Stevens Band.
Of course, St Pat’s at Salt hill is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. So it’s multiple days of fun at the Lebanon location – an Irish-themed open mike on Thursday, the 8th annual Shamrock Shuffle 5K after-party Saturday, and a special evening of Irish music with Longford Row on Sunday.
Salt hill also hosts a traditional Irish breakfast at 9 AM Tuesday, which includes the raising of the first pint.
Colcannon, with Samantha Moffatt on hammered dulcimer and accordion, and Patricia Stebbins on harp, perform at Canoe Club.
Less traditional but just as fun is Mark and Deb Bond’s 3rd annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Walpole Village Tavern.
Local heroes Yer Mother’s Onion will electrify the first ever Sophie & Zeke’s SPD soiree.
So there are several good excuses to cut loose on a Tuesday.
Or, you could just wait until next Friday and catch the Saw Doctors in Northampton.
What else is happening?
Thursday: Lucinda Williams, Capitol Center – Her cigarettes and whisky drawl could make the “Star Spangled Banner” sound sultry. Williams rocked pretty hard at last year’s Green River Festival, closing with an AC/DC song. The trend continued with the release of “Little Honey,” her ninth and most upbeat album. There’s hardly a razor-gazer on the disc – it’s nice to see Lucinda lighten up a bit.
Friday: Comedy & Music, Bistro Nouveau – Boston comic Paul Nardizzi headlines, while Pete Merrigan (who can cut up with the best of them) provides the music. Nardizzi likes to riff on sports, changing steroid poster child Alex Rodriguez’s nickname to “A-Needle” on his blog. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to say about the upcoming Sox season and the Celtics acquisition of loopy Stephon Marbury.
Saturday: Ninja Monkey, Heritage Tavern – Ezra Veitch and Josh Maiocco’s call their latest project “SouthernVT Rock” – a dash of Elvis (Costello), a dollop of Fred Eaglesmith and a slice of Greg Brown, mixed with elements of their own various bands. Ninja Monkey’s a monthly fixture at PK’s in Bellows Falls and they’ll be greening up next Tuesday’s St. Pat’s celebration at Harvest Moon in Saxton’s River.
Sunday: Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, Stonewall Farm – A first rate Americana show presented by Orange Earth, promoter of the occasional Sunday folk shows at Armadillo’s Burritos. Arbo made amazing music with Salamander Crossing in the mid-90s. “Big Old World,” the third Daisy Mayhem album, is a gem. It’s full of spirit and hope, along with good singing and playing. Stonewall, a back-to-basics Keene dairy farm, sounds like a good place for a show.
Monday: Bobby K & the Peace, Bentley’s – Citing Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dave Matthews and Tupac as influences, you know this combo is out of the ordinary. They’ve dubbed their music “folk-hop,” and this Vermont trio gets the crowd involved when they play. Since it’s an open mike night, audience participation is de rigueur. No, seriously, bring your guitar and get in on the action.
Wednesday: Second Wind, Green Acres Café – Let’s coax spring with a wine tasting and music from this fine local duo, who regularly perform at the Claremont Farmer’s Market. This Opera House Square café/grocer is a perfect place to enjoy gourmet food and good conversation. Terry Gould and Suzi Hastings reach across the musical spectrum, moving between Heart, Springsteen and Lyle Lovett with ease.