St. Patrick's Day is upon us once again come Saturday, a day when everyone's Irish, wearing green is considered mandatory, shamrocks are bandied about recklessly and the bartenders add green food coloring to beer. All this ostensibly to commemorate the death of a saint who was not Irish, because he supposedly drove some snakes out of Ireland.
In what is mostly an American tradition, we eat a boiled meal of corned beef and cabbage to mark the day. You can do so a day early, Friday, March 16, at the Willow Creek VFW Hall (20 Kimtu Road) starting at 5 p.m. The $10 you pay for dinner goes to help support the Willow Creek Fire Council.
Also celebrating St. Patrick's one day early with corned beef, the Westhaven Center for the Arts (501 S. Westhaven Drive). You're asked to call ahead for reservations for the 5 p.m. c.b.&c. dinner (677-9493) or show up at 7 p.m. for traditional Irish and bluegrass music by The Pilot Rock Ramblers. Just $7 for music only.
Get jiggy on Friday at the Manila Community Center (1611 Peninsula Drive) with a Wild Irish Barn Dance featuring tunes by fiddler Blake Ritter and David Boveri on concertina and other friends with Shirleigh Brannon and Mathew Marshall calling Irish and Scottish social dances. It goes from 7:30-11 p.m. with beer, Irish coffee and snacks (no corned beef). Admission is $7. Call 269-2061 for more details.
Meanwhile, Friday at Old Town Coffee and Chocolates (211 F St., Eureka), the living spectre Carpathian and Howard Emerson offer Ghosts of the Gaelic Language, a collection of ghoulish Celtic stories. Showtime is 7 p.m. Details at www.patientcreatures.com or 445-8600.
Then on Saturday, St. Pat's Day proper, you have the Knights of Columbus Redwood Council's Shenanigans Celebration at the Fortuna River Lodge (1800 Riverwalk Drive) starting at 4 p.m. with a no host bar. The requisite corned beef dinner is at 5 p.m. along with step dancing by Emerald Coast Irish Dancers, a silent auction and a "pot-o-gold" drawing. Admission is $20, $10 for kids. 725-9303.
The ArMack Orchestra's annual international dinner is also on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center (321 Community Parkway), and since it's that day it's a Gaelic Gala. A gourmet Irish dinner is followed by a performance featuring something from the movie Amadeus (Mozart) and Celtic tunes for Lord of the Dance. There's also an auction with proceeds going to help Arcata and McKinleyville High School students travel to New York and London to compete in music festivals. Reservations at 822-5453 or 839-4668 or email@example.com.
The annual St. Pat's celebration at Gallagher's Irish Pub (in the Eagle House, 139 Second St., Eureka) features Humboldt's top Celtic combo, Good Company, with Ann Marie Woolley, Sam McNeill, Bob Stockwell and Janet Finney-Krull, plus special guest fiddler Kevin Woolley, and the Emerald Coast Irish Dancers. Good Company kicks things off at 5:30 p.m. with Irish reels and jigs; the dancers perform from 7-7:45, then there's more Good Co. Irishness from 8-10.
You'll also find the Irish pub band The Vanishing Pints at Bear River Casino Saturday night (9 p.m.). Fiddler Blake Ritter plays early (5 p.m.) at Mad River Brewing with friends David and Chris (corned beef and cabbage available), then later (9 p.m.) Blake plays at Café Mokka with his usual music partner, Rich Kearns.
Saturday's Shake Your Shamrock Dance Party at the Sapphire Palace has Accurate Productions playing music for a not-exactly-Irish electronica dance party (9 p.m.-2 a.m.) to benefit Teens For Change (you must be at least 18 to attend). Tickets are $12 and are available at the Blue Lake Casino Players Club or by phone at 668-9770 ext. 3281.
Also barely Irish, the St. Patrick's Day Fundraiser at Beneficial Living Center (148 South G St., Arcata) to help Arcata Educational Farm buy a new rototiller. The all-day party (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) includes music by The Mighty Redwood Ambassadors and DJ LivingEarth, a beer garden and seed exchange, a pot-of-gold raffle and a "get lucky" garage sale. Call 633-6125 for more details.
Have a green weekend!