Friday, March 14, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day the Boston Way

As we approach St. Patrick’s Day I can’t help but think of the best St. Patrick’s Day I have ever experienced – St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

It all started with an ominous email from my friend and neighbor, Patrick, whose birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day and yes, he is named after St. Patrick.

“You are Bostonians now and you will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like Bostonians. Come over at 10:00 am.”

What could it mean?! I had no idea but I knew I had to prepare. I made my way over to Party City where I purchased this ensemble to wear to the big parade, and some extra’s for my friends. I sent this photo to Patrick proclaiming I was prepared! I think his response was something like “Oh boy.” I really didn’t care if I looked like a buffoon, I was going all out for my first St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

I distinctly remember that the morning of St. Patrick’s Day I got in the car and the famous Dropkick Murphys song, “I’m shipping up to Boston,” came on and I was PUMPED! Take a listen hear before you proceed. Seriously. This song will pump you up.

At 10:00 am sharp I walked down the hall to Patrick and Jason’s apartment. We all packed ourselves into his car and started driving. Where were we going? To the Mecca of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations: Southie.

Having only lived in Boston a short time, the only things I knew about Southie I had learned from TV and the movies, so it wasn’t good. I was pretty sure we were going to get beat up, robbed or worse, end up like, dun dun dun, The Departed. I had a concerned look on my face but our friends just laughed. “Don’t worry” they said, “we’re not going into the projects….just next to them.” Now it was my turn to think “Oh boy.”

We parked and started walking to another friend’s apartment in the heart of the Southie for some breakfast and shots. Yes, shots. I love telling this story to my LA friends. I was offered a shot of vodka (out of a plastic jug) at 10:30 in the morning, in the middle of Southie, on St. Patrick’s. And you can be damn sure I did not refuse.  I was not about make anyone who lived in Southie mad.

My dear friend Patrick. I forced him to wear this green lei

and tiny green hat and he still managed to rock it

After some French toast, we were ready to head to the parade. As we walked out, you could feel the energy. You’ve heard me talk about the sense of community in Boston before ( in My 5 Favorite Things About Boston) and boy, was it tangible today.

Everyone was wearing green, everyone was having fun, and it felt like you got to be Irish for one day. The streets were closed to traffic and filled with people, some were even camped out on couches and chairs! I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this, but the cops were awesome too. As long as you weren’t causing trouble, they just took away any booze you might be carrying around and let you be.

We finally scoped out a good place to sit and watch the parade. As you can imagine, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston was filled with Boston’s finest. There were firemen, police officers, and servicemen in cars, on motorcycles, and on horseback. And the crowd went wild for them! There were plenty of politicians, city officials and bands too. And bag pipers? You better believe it! And of course, St. Patrick was there to bless us all.

There was also some sort of Irish/booze/pickle/clown float, I’m not sure what it was about it, but everyone loved them! I normally don’t get this enthusiastic about parades but you just couldn’t help it; especially when you are in the middle of the country’s most popular St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The parade finally finished up and we grudgingly headed home. But not before a quick stop at our favorite Waltham BBQ joint, Bison County, for a green birthday beer with the birthday boy, Patrick.

Sure, you can drink green beer and go to parade anywhere. But nothing compares to celebrating St. Patrick’s in Boston.
Read more about my favorite food in Boston Bites Part I and Part II!

And as I sit at my desk in Los Angeles writing this piece, I can’t help but feel a little sad that I missing St. Patick’s Day in Boston, but more than that, I am sad that I don’t get to spend it the amazing friends I made in Boston.

So Jaypat, please have a shot and a green beer for me. And Patrick, Happy Birthday! Come visit me soon =)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. sounds funny :)
    I love Boston, and I am a bit Irish at the heart, so it's been a lovely reading for me ;)

    1. I became a little more Irish after that experience! =)

  2. Your post and the whole day that you spent and shared pictorially look great. It is so wonderful to see how national days unites us together.

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  3. Festival is always a good idea! It's a great idea to attend such events if you're music and street food lover. I belong to this category of people and I'm trying to track all possible festivals on and my friends always ask me where they can go for weekend. And I'm glad to know this and to help in organization of their free time.

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