3 ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Vancouver without going to the pub

The Early Edition's Margaret Gallagher has three ways you can celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year outside the traditional visit to the pub in a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-shirt.

Festivities include fusion food, free cookies and more

Father James Hughes of St. Patrick's Parish with one of the cookies and prayer cards his congregation will be handing out today. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

The Early Edition's Margaret Gallagher has three ways you can celebrate St. Patrick's Day this March 17, outside the traditional visit to the pub in a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-shirt.

1. Take a mini trip to Ireland at Keltic Landing

Head down to the Imperial on Main Street for Keltic Landing, an event that organizer Liam Peyton promises will focus on the origins of the holiday.

For the next two nights, the Imperial will be home to four different environments, representing four different aspects of Irish history and folklore. The Emerald Shores will set the mood with fog and a harpist; the Grove features faeries, fiddlers and facepainting; the Lowlands are home to the main stage for the evening's entertainment; and the Highlands are all about Irish whiskey.

"We want to take it back and go to the roots of the event and make something a bit more special and something memorable, as opposed to just going to a pub and going wild," Peyton said.

2. Sample Irish-Asian fusion food at Wild Rice

Wild Rice, in New Westminster, is a Chinese restaurant with a taste for the modern. Today, they'll be serving a one-night-only Irish-Chinese fusion menu dubbed "The Platter of Gold."

Chef Dante Ramos is Filipino, but drew inspiration for his menu from his time spent working in an Irish pub. This evening's dishes include braised beef potstickers, potatoes and cheese with scallions, and lamb pate with Kenebec potatoes. There will also be Irish-themed drink specials.

3. Learn about the holiday's Christian roots at St. Patrick's Parish

​Father James Hughes of St. Patrick's Parish explained that the holiday has its roots in the historical St. Patrick, patron of Ireland. The shamrock, Hughes said, was used by St. Patrick to represent the Holy Trinity of Catholicism.

St. Patrick's Parish was once a focal point for Vancouver's Irish community, but today the congregation is more than 85 per cent Filipino. Hughes himself is half Irish and half Filipino; his parents were married at the parish 50 years ago.

Despite the changing demographics, Hughes said the holiday has remained important to the parish. To celebrate, the congregation will be handing out festively decorated cookies on Main Street. The parish itself is located at Main Street and 12th Avenue.

With files from Margaret Gallagher.

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