- Grace McDonough
Don't you love it when a festive occasion falls on a weekend? Not an early or late observation of the event, but the honest-to-goodness real deal? This year, St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday, meaning that there are going to be plenty of ways for revelers—whether they're Irish by blood or just in spirit—to have fun with the occasion. Here are just some of the places in Utah where you can wear your green, go bragh with Erin and let your shamrock flag fly.
Salt Lake St. Patrick's Day Parade & Siamsa
St. Paddy's Day gives those whose ancestors hailed from the Emerald Isle, as well as those who refer to themselves as being of honorary Irish descent, an excuse to celebrate a timeless tradition. That's especially true in our fair city, which has enjoyed its own gathering of the green, the popular annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Dubbed "The Irish Are Coming: 40 Years of Shamrocks and Shenanigans," the parade still finds one of its four founders, John Welsh, taking an active role as its announcer. His daughter, Meghan Welsh-Gibson—vice-president of the Hibernian Society of Utah, the parade's primary sponsor—follows in her father's footsteps as the parade entry coordinator. "This was a parade that was started by four friends who had a dream of making St. Patrick's Day more than just a day on the calendar," Welsh-Gibson says."Their love of their Irish heritage is what has sustained this Salt Lake City tradition for 40 years.What started out as a parade with roughly a few hundred people lining the streets to watch, has turned into thousands of people that have come to love and anticipate this grand event every year."
A "siamsa" (a Gaelic word meaning "entertainment of the land") featuring music, dance, food and refreshments takes place at the Gallivan Center following the parade's conclusion. In addition, a portion of the parade proceeds go to the local Shriners Hospitals for Children. And that makes Irish eyes smile indeed. (Lee Zimmerman)
Parade begins at 200 South & 500 East and concludes on State Street, March 17, 10 a.m., irishinutah.org
There's no reason to limit St. Paddy's Day festivities to the Irish alone. Their Scottish kinfolk also boast mirth and merriment of their own. That's one reason why the annual Celtic Celebration promises to provide such grand Gaelic entertainment.
"The Peery's Egyptian Theater is truly the heart of local and regional entertainment for the Ogden/Weber area," says Ross Reeder, the theater's director of sales and marketing. "In partnering with LaRae Thackeray and her Celtic Beat Dancers, we have added to the many great bands that have performed over the years."
Granted, the denizens and descendants of each nation would likely insist that each boasts a distinct heritage and history all their own. Nevertheless, the festival makes no distinction between brogues or bagpipes, jigs and reels, step dancers, mournful ballads, pipes and drums transcend geography and bridge the divide between Ireland's rolling green meadows and Scotland's craggy cliffs and desolate moors. Leaping Lulu, Wasatch & District Pipe Band,the aforementioned Celtic Beat and others of a similar pedigree are out to ensure that everyone gets into a common Gaelic groove. (LZ)
Peery's Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, March 17, 7:30 p.m., $10-$15, egyptiantheaterogden.com
4th West Fest St. Patrick's Day After-Party
Mountain West Cider—teaming up with Red Rock Brewery and Tullamore Dew—continues to help turn its particular corner of Salt Lake City's west side into a place for revelry, with this free admission post-parade extravaganza. Jump on the Tullamore Dew Party Trolley at the end of the parade route, which will bring you directly to the site of the event.
Live music is on the agenda, including headliners The Dunmore Lasses and the John Flanders Trio, plus plenty of food trucks, games and booths with local vendors (including City Weekly). And of course it's a chance to try the beer and hard cider from the event's organizers, should St. Paddy move you in that direction. (Scott Renshaw)
425 N. 400 West, March 17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free, mountainwestcider.com
St. Patrick's Day Ceili
The Gaelic word "ceilidh" (pronounced "KAY'-lee") refers to a social gathering of dancing music and storytelling; Legacy School of Dance turns it into a day of live Irish dance performance. You can enjoy as a spectator or even join into the group dance yourself, plus enjoy refreshments and participate in a silent auction to help raise funds for local dancers hoping to attend a national competition. (SR)
100 W. 2675 North, Layton, March 17, 6-8 p.m., $5 at the door, legacy-dance.com
St. Patrick's Day at Discovery Gateway
Grown-ups and their grown-up-drink celebrations aren't the only way to get your Irish up; young folks can still get leprechaun-vivial. Regular admission at Discovery Gateway will get you into a day of special programming for kids that includes information about the science of rainbows that lead you to the pot of gold, arts and crafts projects with shamrocks and much more. (SR)
Discovery Gateway, 444 W. 100 South, March 17, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., discoverygateway.org