As most anyone who’s been in Aspen for a previous March 17 could tell you, St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally one of the booziest holidays on the calendar here in Silver City. Whether it’s an old-school, green-beer bladder burst at a dive bar or a festive pub crawl around downtown, there will be gallons of Guinness, bushels of Baileys and countless jiggers of Jameson consumed today.
If that’s your idea of a St. Patty’s celebration, Aspen certainly has you covered. There will be no shortage of places to tip back a drink or three. But if you find the operative part of the holiday’s namesake to be the word “saint,” you should know that the Roaring Fork Valley also serves up opportunities to do good with your holiday revelry.
For the sinners
Start your day off at Snowmass and get in a few good runs before heading to the Ullrhof restaurant for the third annual Ullrhof Games, which begin at noon. Join your friends and fellow skiers for a deck party with beer and food specials, and then form a team to compete in traditional games such as beer pong, speed quarters, corn hole and stump to win valuable prizes.
After the games, ski — carefully — down to the mall or Base Village for food and drink specials at a number of participating establishments, and enjoy kids activities, free ice skating and live music from Burn it Blue, an acoustic trio of multi-instrumentalists with roots in bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, country, jazz and rock ’n’ roll, in Base Village from 3-6 p.m. To up the Irish factor even more, duck into the new Limelight Hotel Snowmass for authentic Celtic music from The Ferlies from 4-7 p.m.
Here in town, if you’re serious about your revelry today, you could, of course, belly up to the bar at any of Aspen’s numerous watering holes, many of which will be offering up drink specials for the holiday, or you could sign up for the grand finale of the Après Ski Cocktail Classic, the Great Après Ski Pub Crawl & Cocktail Competition, which will make its way through 13 downtown bars from 2-6 p.m. ($50, apresskicocktailclassic.com).
Participating establishments include The Living Room and the J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome, Bad Harriet, Jimmy’s, Hao House, Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar, Silver City, 7098 Aspen, Mi Cholla, Aspen Public House, Marble Bar, Casa Tua and Hops Culture. Each will be serving up a signature cocktail, and participants will get to vote for their favorite.
For the saints
Needless to say, boozing it up isn’t necessarily everyone’s idea of a good time. If you find yourself in this category but you’re still a sucker for tradition, make your way to Bumps restaurant at the base of Buttermilk from 5-8 p.m. for a tradition that predates every other one in town: St. Mary Catholic Church’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Fundraising Dinner.
Now, incredibly in its 133rd year, the beloved feast brings together diners from all walks of life and all socioeconomic strata for an event that helps raise money for the St. Patrick’s Charity Assistance Fund. The menu, even more incredibly, has stayed the same since 1886: roast beef, pork loin, homemade mashed potatoes, fresh coleslaw, green beans and desserts. And while there’s no set price to partake of the food, the church does request that diners make a donation to the assistance fund.
“It’s the oldest event in Aspen, and at the first one, they raised the funds in one dinner to build the structure we see today on Main Street,” said St. Mary Church secretary Julia DeBacker. “Over the years it has evolved into raising funds for different charities, and for the last decade all the proceeds have gone directly to our assistance fund, which plays a big role in helping out the poor and homeless, especially in the upper valley. That’s what makes this dinner great: It’s a charity that’s right here in Aspen and Snowmass. It’s our one event each year that helps us raise all the funds we need to serve these individuals.”
Farther downvalley, St. Patrick’s Day celebrators have the chance to do good even more directly at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, which will be hosting the Maniscalchi Girls Benefit Performance & Silent Auction. Julie Maniscalchi, a revue cast member, and her two daughters lost their husband and father, Chris Maniscalchi, who passed away in January. In the words of the Vaudeville Revue’s website: “This is an evening to honor the family and to show our support for them as they face a very tough journey in the coming months and years.”
The show will feature longtime valley performers David Dyer & Bob Finnie, Gary & Meredith Daniel, John Goss, Bob Moore, Tommy Erickson, Nina Gabianelli, Bailey Barnum, Jennetta Howell, Alexis States, Peggy Wilke and more, and the Glenwood Brew Pub will be donating corned beef and cabbage. One hundred percent of the sale of the Brew Pub food, 50 percent of all other food sales and 75 percent of all bar sales will be donated to the Maniscalchi Girls Benefit.
“I love being a part of that, when we have the opportunity to help organizations raise money, or to help families,” said Goss, who also owns the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue. “It says a lot about the community, and especially the theater community; whenever there’s a family member that’s in trouble or needs help, people will step up. And I think they also look at it like, ‘Here’s something where we can help the family and get together, have some fun, enjoy being with each other and have a nice, positive moment in this difficult time for the Maniscalchi girls.”
The show starts at 5 p.m., and tickets are $20 (gvrshow.com).