It seems everyone on St. Patrick’s Day is Irish. We’ll all don green and drink as much beer as we can before passing out, which pretty much sums up my average day.
In Dublin, St. Patrick’s Day marks the beginning of the tourist season when visitors, like migrating birds and Hillary Clinton supporters, migrate to the Emerald Island seeking refuge and a modicum of sanity.
Galway has a very theatrical event, with a strong emphasis on performers and outrageous costumes, making the Hollywood Gay Parade look like a Republican luncheon. Cork also has a lively program of events, with the parade at its center but also music, theatre, puppetry, a food festival and a three-day Carnival of Fools, or as locals refer to it, "The Age of Trump."
Chicago dyes its river green for St. Patrick’s Day, which doesn’t take much since it’s pretty much green all year long. According to legend, the earliest celebration of the holiday in America took place in Boston in 1737. Washington, D.C., hosts the legendary Shamrock Festival, an all-day event featuring more than 50 Irish bands, dancers, and games. Kansas City celebrates all things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day with a special Gaelic Mass, led by a lone bagpiper. They wanted more but how many bagpipers can you find in Kansas?
New York City hosts one of the oldest and largest parades for St. Patrick’s Day, celebrating Irish culture and the Catholic faith. The day ends with an exorcism in Central Park. It never fails to bring in huge ratings for the Fox Network.
Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, started before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1771, is the second-oldest of its kind in the U.S., surpassed only by New York City’s. It attracts more than a half-million marchers and spectators. All night long they gather in bars like Fado Irish Pub, to drink Guinness and pray for a better Eagles season.
Coeur d’Alene, the coolest town in the country, celebrates St. Patrick’s Day this year with a 5K marathon labeled, “Luck of the Irish.” You’ll never see me running unless someone with a gun is chasing me. They say runners live a longer life but maybe all that pain just makes it seem longer. Most marathons have people with water available at various stations along the route. I wonder if Coeur d’Alene’s St. Patrick’s Day marathon will have beer instead? Only the runners will ever know and they’re not saying.
In the 1970s, Oshkosh, Wis., was the place you wanted to be on St. Patrick’s Day. I was an undergraduate student and 25 percent Irish so never attended a class on March 17. Or on days that began with a "T." It became so notorious for wild celebrations that many students would travel from as far away as the East Coast. My roommate got so drunk he would sit on the kitchen floor and play his flute all night long. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was a butter knife.
By mid-afternoon the bars just off campus had so many students passed out on the street the police found it easier to just block off the street with barricades. We were young and stupid. It all seems like a hundred years ago.
Four clues you partied too much on St. Patrick’s Day:
• You wake up in South Dakota in a rugby shirt and roller skates.
• Your head is shaven and your dog is wearing your hair.
• Your tongue is tattooed with a shamrock.
• The first thing you remember hearing is, “The defendant will now rise.”