Shamrocks and Aspens: It’s St. Pat’s In September
There are certain things that happen up in Leadville to signal that autumn is here: the kids go back to school, the leaves start to change – quickly, and the September St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held. Wait, what?! Isn’t St. Patrick’s Day in March?
Well, Leadville likes to celebrate its Irish heritage TWICE a year. Besides March weather can be pretty cold and snowy for a proper parade, so why not do it again the third Saturday in March?!
September’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at noon at the top of Capitol Hill (in front of the mining museum) and marches down historic Harrison Avenue and straight into the Silver Dollar Saloon, Leadville’s Irish bar.
The great thing about September’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is that you never really know what’s going to happen. Some celebrations are unforgettable. Like the time the three bagpipe bands from the Front Range made the trip up. These musicians usually play the bigger parades for the real St. Patrick’s Day, but in September pure Irish luck prevails and the celebration is on! That year, during the procession’s usual stop in front of the Lake County Courthouse, all three bands played Amazing Grace. There wasn’t a dry eye on Harrison Avenue as the drums and bagpipes echoed across a perfect fall day, aspens ablaze amid Colorado’s two highest peaks.
Other the years it seemed that the parade might not happen at all due to a lack of funds or clashing Irish personalities. There was one year when the parade marched a reverse route, starting at the south end of the avenue; it didn’t catch on. Not only were people confused about where to meet before the parade, but the procession also had a hard time marching past the saloon with all the good Irish whiskey!
All marchers are welcome with the procession meeting in front of the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum on W. 9th Street just before noon. The popular Queen City Bag Pipe Band will be marching in the parade and play some great Irish tunes at the Silver Dollar Saloon. So, grad your shillelagh, pull on that green sweater and head up to Leadville for September’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Slainte!