It's just a few days to St. Patrick's Day, that most beloved of holidays, when Americans tout their (tenuous at best) Irish heritage and honor a fifth-century missionary by wearing sequined green hats and vomiting in the streets. Every Irish pub in Denver is planning a party that will run into the wee hours, but if you're looking for something a bit different, here are ten options:
8 to 9 a.m. Saturday, March 17
It's no Emerald Isle, but you can still get a great (and green) start to the day with a yoga practice in the midst of a tropical rainforest. For $10 in advance or $12 at the door, surround yourself with vines and vinyasa your way to inner peace. It's the most soothing, centering thing you can do on St. Patrick's Day (Jameson shots sure aren't going to help you access that third eye). Find out more at the Butterfly Pavilion Facebook page.
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Erin Go Braugh 7.77K
9 a.m. Saturday, March 17
Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk? Take advantage of the luck o' the Irish by signing up for the Erin Go Braugh 7.77K, where you won't be running from an unhinged San Francisco cop; instead, you'll be heading toward a finish line where a bottomless pot of Lucky Charms and free beer awaits. You can even bring your best running partner — your pooch — on this route (bonus points if you show up with an Irish wolfhound). Advance registration, $40, is open until 4 p.m. on Friday, March 16, at Erin Go Braugh Run's website, but if you wake up that morning feeling particularly fortunate, you can join the stampede on the same day for $50.
Denver St. Patrick's Day Parade
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17
No list of St. Patrick's Day shenanigans would be complete without mentioning the granddaddy of them all, the city's parade. The event is billed as the largest Gaelic processional west of the Mississippi; the controlled chaos that ensues (over 200,000 spectators lined the streets last year) gives you the chance to rock that green felt top hat and revel in your (real or imagined) Irish ancestry. This year, the parade steps off from Coors Field parking lot and Wynkoop Street before wending its way north on Blake Street; find out more (and find out where the hell you're going to park) at the parade website. Though the marching doesn't start until the very reasonable hour of 9:30 a.m., chances are you'll want to stake out a spot much earlier; spectators start showing up as early as 6 a.m., so bring a Thermos of Irish coffee along to ensure you're filled with Irish cheer for the rest of the morning.
Saint Patrick's Day Party
Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 17
Parties in unlikely locations are almost always charming. The Chinese New Year celebration at your local VFW? Odd and awesome, especially with those cheap beers. Spanish Paella Day (that's March 27, in case you're keeping track) at the Ethiopian restaurant? Even better. Same goes for a St. Patrick's Day party at a Harley dealership. Even if you're not in the market for a hog, there's no reason you can't show up for free corned beef and cabbage, soda pong and cornhole. And if you are looking for a bike or just some branded gear, all the better. The dealership's Facebook page has details, as well as deals on merch.
Olde Town Arvada Saint Patrick's Day Festival
Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 17
Historic Olde Town Arvada
This street festival may be your best bet if you're looking for a St. Paddy's Day celebration with a small-town feel. While beer and wine will be served (what's a culturally appropriated holiday without the booze?), this is a decidedly family-friendly event, with Irish music and dancing, craft vendors and a paint-by-number mural to entertain the wee ones. Admission is free; find out more at Olde Town Arvada's website.
Saint Baldrick's Fundraiser
1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17
Thirsty Lion Gastropub
This St. Patrick's Day, donate to a cause other than (or in addition to) your liver's punishment. Saint Baldrick's Foundation is setting up shop at the Thirsty Lion to raise money for children's cancer research with a head- shaving event. If your unruly mop has you channeling Brendan Fraser's tour de force as Encino Man, raise money by committing to the big chop on the bar's Facebook page. If you don't have the mettle to rid yourself of your mane, you can still make a donation to the cause through March 17.
Denver Gay Men's Chorus: British Invasion
2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Yes, Virginia, there is a way to appreciate the culture of the British Isles without chugging green Bud Light. Take a slightly more restrained approach to the holiday by attending a performance of modern British classics. Shirley Bassey, Culture Club, the Bee Gees, the Spice Girls and George Michael are all on the program (yes, we did say "restrained," and we stand by it) in this collaboration with the Mountain Aires, an all-male ensemble from the Denver Children's Choir. Tickets start at $31 and are on sale now at rmarts.org, where you can also catch a sneak peek of a certain Freddie Mercury tearing up the stage. Prepare for the most sophisticated Saint Paddy's Day celebration in town.
Saint Patrick's Day Party
6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, March 17
As the T-shirt says, everybody has a little Irish in them. This is more true at some parties than others — and at the Scarlet Ranch's shindig, it's damn near a certainty. The Littleton swingers' club will celebrate Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland (the one-eyed trouser variety remains native to all continents and promises to make an appearance at this event). The Scarlet Ranch website has the details, as well as ticket information; note that admission will vary, but starts at around $140 for couples making their first visit.
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Irish Eyes Equinox Campfire and Storytelling
6:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 17
South Platte Park
Though many Americans' concepts of Irish culture begins and ends with Guinness, the fact is that the Celts had a leg up on many ancient (and some modern) astronomers; they were among the first to claim that Earth is round, not flat. Join South Suburban Parks and Recreation for a discussion of ancient Irish astronomy; learn about the 5,200-year-old Newgrange burial mound and the Irish zodiac. Tickets run from $9 to $15 (less if you live inside the parks and rec district boundaries) and are on sale now at ssprd.org.
Brass, Bagpipes & Co.: Off Kilt-er
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17
Newman Center for the Performing Arts
What's an Irish gathering without a hearty round of The Fields of Athenry — followed, of course, by a maudlin rendition of Danny Boy? Even if you're not from the Emerald Isle (and statistically, it's unlikely, no matter how loudly you proclaim it today), you're sure to know some of the tunes at this annual musical performance. Irish dancers will be accompanied by pipes, drums and fiddles as the musicians play their way through the island's extensive and immediately recognizable musical history. Tickets range from $12 to $48 and are available at the Denver Brass Facebook page. And if your plans for Saturday night already involve bursting into song at a pub? Fear not: There are additional performances Friday and Sunday.