For a little wearing o’ the green and luck o’ the Irish, look no further than Leadville this St. Patrick’s Day. Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, March 17, local businesses and community members dressed in emerald will gather on the top of Capitol Hill (in front of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum on 9th Street) and march down Harrison Avenue to the sound of bagpipes echoing off the surrounding mountains.
Immediately following the parade (it’s a short procession, so don’t be late) spectators and participants typically stroll into Leadville’s own Western-style Irish pub, the Silver Dollar Saloon, for a corned beef and cabbage buffet. The meal will be served until 6:30 p.m. and is $10 per person. Silver Dollar will host karaoke until midnight in honor of the holiday as well.
The streets of Leadville are rich in Irish antiquity. Historians estimate that more than 1,000 Irish immigrants, averaging 26 years of age, are buried in unmarked graves extending far into the forest in the “Catholic Free” section of the Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville. Many poor Irish miners came to the Rocky Mountains during the 1870s and 1880s, and instead of finding gold or silver, they perished.
Lovers of the shamrock take note; each year Leadville celebrates its Irish heritage twice by hosting a second St. Patrick’s Day parade six months later. So just in case you don’t get enough green beer this week, mark your calendars for the third Saturday in September when participants will march again amidst glorious fall color.