Are we already halfway to St. Paddy's Day?
As fall approaches and many set their sights on the upcoming holiday season and celebrations involving Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the like, McMenamins Edgefield already is thinking ahead to spring — an Irish spring, if you will, specifically St. Patrick's Day.
To mark the halfway point between the holiday's last celebration and the next one on March 17, 2018, the resort is holding its annual Halfway to St. Patrick's Day celebration this Saturday, Sept. 16, with Celtic-inspired food, music, dancing and of course beers brewed specially for the occasion.
The free event, which has been held for at least the past eight years, will feature a mixture of returning as well as new bands and musical artists at various venues at Edgefield, including The Loading Dock, Edgefield Winery and some just roaming on the grounds of the resort's grounds at Halsey St.
McMenamins spokeswoman Renee Rank Ignacio noted the event has become a close second to St. Patrick's Day itself as far as a fun, inspiring celebration of Irish heritage and culture.
"Everybody knows of St. Patrick's Day, so Halfway to St. Patrick's Day is something different," she says. "For us the celebration is halfway to our favorite holiday, so we try to invoke the same spirit we do with regular St. Patrick's Day. We're bringing in different bands, new music, Irish dancers, face painters, balloon (artists), bagpipers, and a little leprechaun wandering around. So it's fun."
At the Loading Dock bar and restaurant, Jonny B Connolly and Eamonn McElholm will perform from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by Irish Dancers at 12:30 p.m., Lowlight from 1-3 p.m., and The Coastline from 3:30-5 p.m. The River City Pipe Band will roam the Edgefield grounds beginning at 2:30 p.m., and Anchor and Reel will perform in the Winery from 7-9 p.m. Balloons will abound, and a face painter will work some magic from 3-6 p.m.
"The Loading Dock will be the main area in the afternoon," Ignacio says. "In the evening, things will move to the Winery."
With a sold-out concert by Fleet Foxes at the Edgefield Amphitheater taking place at 6:30 p.m., it should be a lively day, but Ignacio indicated there should be room and parking for everyone who wants to enjoy the afternoon and evening.
"People there for (Halfway to St. Patrick's Day) can hang around and listen to Fleet Foxes (from outside the venue)," she adds. "We have a great team here that helps with parking. The people who come earlier in the day are not impacted as heavily (by concert traffic). People come and go."
Food and drink specials include Irish Eyes are Smiling, which includes fresh-cut fries topped with cheese and ale sauce, crisp bacon, sour cream and green onions; the Irish Reuben with hot corned beef, Swiss cheese, buttermilk coleslaw and mustard sauce on grilled rye bread with a choice of fresh-cut fries or tots. Holiday drinks include the Irish Iced Coffee featuring Jameson Irish whiskey; the Irish Mule with Tullamore D.E.W., fresh-squeezed lime and ginger beer; and in the beer category, McMenamins Irish Stout.
Despite a dodgy few days as smoke from the Eagle Creek Fire in the nearby Columbia River Gorge descended on Edgefield and Troutdale, Ignacio says conditions have improved with regular-sized crowds resuming at the resort.
"It's gonna be a great afternoon," Ignacio says of Saturday. "We encourage people to come out early, get something to eat and have a McMenamins Irish Stout."
What: Halfway to St. Patrick's Day celebration
Where: Loading Dock and Winery at McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St., Troutdale
When: Change to Saturday, Sept. 16, all day, with music from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.