St Patrick's Day: many-a-way to make merriment

This weekend is the time of the year when revelries and shenanigans will take place all in the name of St. Patrick’s Day. Saturday, Mar. 17 marks the cultural and religious holiday celebrated around the world in honor of Ireland’s patron saint. Whether you plan to wholly embrace your inner Irish for the day or not, there will be plenty of ways on and off-campus to have a grand hooley of a time. So Erin go Bragh!

Archaeology Fest 2012: As part of Florida Archaeology Month, New College and Time Sifters Archaeology Society present Archaeology Fest, a fun-filled day of tours, lectures, demonstrations, hands-on learning, films and more from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the New College Public Archaeology Lab.

Dumpling Festival: China Club hosts it first Dumpling Festival this year from 2-4 p.m. in Z-Kitchen.

Campout on Z Green: Enjoy some free food around the campfire beginning at 7 p.m. before catching some shut-eye in one of the tents provided by the New College Student Alliance (NCSA).

St. Patrick’s Day on St. Armand’s: Visit Lynches Pub & Grub, an authentic Irish Pub owned by Chris and Ethna Lynch, who hail from County Cork. They will have bagpipers, Irish step-dancers and lots of singing! While you’re on the circle, check out the 15th Annual Pug Parade from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Irish Rover St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: This annual celebration boasts having the best Paddy’s Day parade in Sarasota for seven years and counting. Special guests the Jazz Juvenocracy will perform while you enjoy some Guiness stew. Bring a nonperishable food item to support All Faiths Food Bank. The event will last from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Phillippi Estate Park and is only $5 for admission.

St. Patrick’s Day Block Party at Shamrock Pub: The action begins early at the Shamrock, which will open its doors at 9 a.m. The block party begins at 3 p.m. and will benefit the Sarasota Family YMCA Youth Shelter. Expect live music from one of my personal favorite local bands, Fancy Rat, who will be delivering a set of Irish songs they’ve been working on just for St. Patrick’s Day. The Hollering String Fellows, Florida Mountain Boys and fiddler Greg Holt are also set to perform. Clothesline will offer live screen printing with exclusive St. Patty’s designs by Kyle Cross. The Purple Cow dessert truck will also be present with ice cream and special Irish desserts.

Baseball Spring Training – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Experience a different kind of green at McKechnie Field in Bradenton. The game begins at 1 p.m. and tickets begin around $23 depending on where you check online.

Watch Bloody Sunday and other Irish films: If you feel like staying in for the day, have a marathon of Irish films. Bloody Sunday (2002) is about the 1972 “Bloody Sunday” shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland. The award-winning drama shows the events of the day through the eyes of Ivan Cooper, a Northern Ireland politician who was hopeful that both Catholics and Protestants in Ireland could work together. Also, check out The Guard (2011), a comedy starring Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson that has surpassed 2006’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley as the most successful independent Irish film of all time in terms of Irish box-office sales. I would also recommend Once (2006), a modern-day musical about the eventful week of a Dublin busker (street-performer) and a Czech immigrant who write and record songs that tell their charming love story.

Corned beef and hash may be the centerpiece for many a St. Patrick’s table, but if you prefer something sweeter, try this no-bake recipe for Mint Cookie Truffles:
Ingredients:
-1 (9 oz) package of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies (or Keebler Grasshopper cookies)
-1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
-1 (12 oz) bag green mint chips

1) In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and then blend them down until they are just crumbs. It might be easier to do this in two batches (even if you don’t have a food processor, you can still make these — throw the cookies in a big Ziploc bag and start pounding them with a hammer until you have a lot of fine crumbs).

2) Next, mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together in a bowl until well-mixed. Roll the mixture into one-inch balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart.

3) Once the truffles have been in the fridge for a while, melt the green mint chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Heat the chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heat burst. Repeat until the chips are all melted.

4) Roll each ball in the melted chips until it is fully covered. I usually use two forks to push the truffle around until it is all covered. Then, using the two forks, carefully pick up the truffle and allow the excess mint chocolate to run off before placing back on the wax paper. Repeat with all the truffles.

5) Stick the truffles back in the fridge for a couple of minutes or until the mint chocolate is hardened.

6) If you want to decorate your truffles, melt about 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (or almond bark or white candy coating-whatever you want) the same way that you melted the mint chips. Spoon the white chocolate in a small Ziplock bag and cut a tiny bit of one corner off the bag. Start small at first, then, if you need, make the hole a little larger. Drizzle the white chocolate over the green truffles.

7) Place back in the fridge until you are ready to devour them.

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