When St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Friday — as it does this year with March 17 at the end of this work week, it’s a chance to dial up the festivities for the special Irish holiday and possibly consider it a three-day weekend of celebrating.
In Flagstaff, the Northern Arizona Celtic Heritage Society, known well for its Highland Celtic Festival in the summer, helps keep a torch burning for the Emerald Isle descendants and their supporters. And taverns such as Uptown Pubhouse and Collins Irish Pub & Grill bring an added flair to downtown, while other venues throw their own parties.
Here are a few ideas for ways to head out on the town for St. Patrick’s Day — and a few weekend happenings for revelers who wants to keep the good times rolling.
Riordan Mansion State Park. For anyone who is a primo whisky lover (and you know who you are), a new big event for St. Patrick’s Day this year is a special whisky tasting at Riordan Mansion State Park. While the whiskies are of a Scottish descent, this special gathering to taste the top-notch spirits from the highlands is sure to be a special holiday treat. The tasting happens at “Timothy Riordan’s Table” in the mansion.
There are three tastings on Friday and three on Saturday at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. The prices for the high-end tasting are from $100-$150 for tastings in categories ranging from “excellent,” to “prestigious” to “extraordinary.” The Celtic Heritage Society calls it an educational event. For more information or tickets, call (928) 779-4395.
Uptown Pubhouse. St. Patrick’s Day night at this popular pub on Leroux Street is always a fun time. And, to kick things off, the staff will have a toast to Bobby Sands at 5:30 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day.
“We’ll raise a glass to Irish poet, politician and hero, Bobby Sands, and recite one of his poems that was smuggled out of the English H Block prison cells,” owner James Jay shared.
Also, on Sunday, the pub will continue their traditional Irish music seisiún, which happens every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Award winning teacher and Celtic musician, Kari Lapins leads this session. Bring bodhráns, tin whistles or just a knee to slap. Everyone is welcome to help carry the tune or simply sip a Guinness and listen to the fine jam session. Call (928) 773-0551.
Collins Irish Pub & Grill. For 20 years, one of Flagstaff’s big to-go places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day has been Collins Irish Pub & Grill. And this year looks to be no different — except for the added bonus of many revelers not having to get up for work the next day.
“We’ll have traditional Irish music, Irish food and green beer” to celebrate the night’s big holiday, said owner Won Choi. “I think it will be a little better this year compared to others. Historically, it’s been a better turnout when (St. Patrick’s Day) is on the weekend.” Call (928) 214-7363
Bob Log III. Flagstaff’s largest downtown venue the Orpheum Theater will join in on the celebrations with their “St. Patrick’s Day Party featuring Bob Log III.”
This unusual rock artist is described in an article by the Guardian: “picture a man in a shiny blue jumpsuit and a pilot’s helmet wired to a telephone receiver, playing slide guitar with all the dirty, scuzzy joy in his heart … It is loud and strange and electrifying.”
He’s also joined by a wild outfit known as Bloody Death Skull, described as “The Shirelles meets Roky Erickson on a playground in outer space.” Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show is at 8 p.m. for this event and tickets are $9. Call (928) 556-1580.
Neko Case. Close out the St. Patrick’s Day weekend with alt-country’s ultimate red-haired siren, Neko Case, on Sunday, March 19 at the Orpheum Theater. One of the most talented female singer-songwriters on the scene, period, Case returns to Flagstaff for the second time and promises to rock the Orpheum with her signature brand of music with twisted-fairytale storylines, jilted lovers and staccato moments of darkness and light.
Her songs off of her four full-length albums are equal parts haunting and beautiful. The lyrics are poetic and profound, stunning and absurd, and always delivered with Case’s resonant voice. The explore heavy and moody territory, as heard on “Deep Red Bells” — a lament for the dozens of women killed by the Green River Killer.
Murder and darker themes also show up on songs like “Furnace Room Lullaby,” a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart” with a Southern Gothic spin. Case is known to get upbeat, though, with gospel-tinged songs such as “John Saw That Number.” Doors at 7 p.m. Show at 8 p.m. Dylan Pratt opens. www.orpheumflagstaff.com.