St. Patricks Day with an Aspen twist |

St. Patricks Day with an Aspen twist

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times

ASPEN St. Patrick’s Day in Aspen has all the right ingredients: plenty of places for a hearty spread, green beer, parties and area law enforcement keeping an eye out for drunk drivers.And the 121st annual dinner at St. Mary Church tops the bill of Saturday events.The meal begins at 4 p.m. , but will serve until 8, dishing up a meal of roast beef and pork, mashed potatoes, green beans and the church’s “world famous” coleslaw.”It’s a secret,” Father Mike O’Brien, priest of St. Mary Church, said of the recipe. “People love it. Only two people know and they keep it hidden.”Wine and beer will be offered outside in a heated tent as Kory Krahl and Andrea Early Coen along with members of the Crowlin Ferlies, a local Celtic band, reel out Irish tunes. A silent auction – offering everything from a sailboat cruise to artwork and a snowboard signed by Gretchen Bleiler – benefits the St. Mary Charity Assistance Fund, helping underprivileged Roaring Fork Valley. Admission is a donation. For more information on the auction, call the church office at 925-7339.There will also be a dinner at St. Vincent’s Catholic Church in Basalt from 5-8 p.m. Adult admission is $10 and children 5-12 are $5.

Parade-goers can head to Fanny Hill at Snowmass Village, which will be green with a giant shamrock during the celebration. Games, prizes, Irish costume-making, crafts and face painting are all expected at the parade down the mall.

The Colorado Youth Pipe & Drum Band will march through the mall at 2 p.m. and again at 5:15 p.m., and the Colorado Youth Dancers will perform traditional Irish dances throughout the afternoon. There will be food tents and live music, including the Crowlin Ferlies at 5 p.m. The funk/soul band 8 Trac will play from 4-5:30 p.m. on the mall. For more information, visit or call (800) SNOWMASS.Have fun, just not too much”St. Patrick’s Day has become a big party night, especially for young people,” said Pam Hutton, Colorado Department of Transportation engineer, in a prepared statement.

And with the holiday falling on a Saturday night this year, officials expect increased alcohol-related offenses and accidents, Hutton said.About 90 percent of fatal accidents in the wee hours of St. Patrick’s day are caused by drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”We’re going to have a saturation patrol,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.”There is a free taxi ride for everyone who goes down to their pub of choice and drinks too much green beer,” Braudis said, referring to the Tipsy Taxi program.

Anyone who has had too much to drink need only approach a bartender, a restaurateur or a police officer and ask for a voucher, then call a taxi for a free ride home (tips appreciated) thanks to Tipsy Taxi.Braudis said there will be additional deputies on the roads. He doesn’t support checkpoints, however, saying stopping every car on the road is an “invasion of privacy.””We just add staff dedicated to looking for people showing probable cause,” Braudis said, which means drivers weaving or driving erratically.”It’s not an anti-Irish thing,” Braudis said.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is