Guide to St. Patrick’s Day events in Sonoma County

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What’s the difference between St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland, as opposed to the United States?

“We only celebrate the one day in Ireland,” said Cathy Jordan, lead singer of the popular Irish band Dervish from County Sligo. “Everybody has the tractor or the truck all washed and shiny for the local parade, and it’s fun day out.”

On this side at the Atlantic, however, Irish musicians are usually booked up from late February to early April.

“This seems to be a popular time to bring Irish music to America,” she said. “The music resonates with people. They love the warmth and excitement of it. You can’t sit still when the jigs and reels are played.”

There will be plenty of celebrations to mark St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, but there’s also fun to be had both before and after the official day.

Dervish will miss St. Patrick’s Day by almost a week when the band plays March 22 in Sebastopol, but that’s all right. And Jordan trusted the show would go on even after Russian River flooding damaged the original venue at the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center.

“They reckon they’ll get that sorted,” she said from her home in Ireland. And indeed the show has been moved to the Sanctuary Room at the Community Church Sebastopol.

Dervish — which just released its newest CD, “The Great Irish Songbook” — mixes traditional, even ancient, Celtic music with contemporary and original tunes, but the band’s always careful to stay true to its roots.

“All of the elements are there — the crying and the dancing. You feel that gamut of emotion, and you go feeling exhilarated.”

There will be even some singing in Gaelic, she promised, and translations won’t be needed.

“It’s like listening to opera,” Jordan said. “You can just imagine what they’re saying.”

The Dervish concert starts at 8 p.m. at the church, located at 1000 Gravenstein Highway. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $28 at the door, and $30 for premium seating. Information:

Another Irish musical act — The Black Brothers Band, led by siblings Michael and Shay Black and featuring keyboardist Eamonn Flynn, famed for his work on the soundtrack of the movie “The Commitments” — will perform the day before St. Patrick’s Day.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Occidental Center for the Arts at 3850 Doris Murphy Court in Occidental. Tickets cost $24 in advance and $28 at the door. Beer, wine and pub grub will be available for purchase. Information:, 707-874-9372.

You can also mark the holiday a day early with “St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland” with traditional Celtic dance and music. 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Spreckels Center Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $35-$50. 707-588-3400,

If you’re a purist who insists on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, March 17, fear not. You’ll find what you seek:

• The beloved St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Healdsburg, sponsored by the city in collaboration with the B&B Lounge, starts at 7 a.m. Sunday on Healdsburg Avenue. The town gets in the mood for the celebration the night before, with Eilen Ivers and JigJam performing at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Raven Performing Arts Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. Concert tickets: $40-$60.

• The Toad in the Hole pub at Santa Rosa’s Old Railroad Square starts its St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at noon Sunday. The day includes ale and food, an outdoor beer garden, bagpipes, singers, dancing and live music by local Irish punk band Lucky Ol’ Bones at 9 p.m. Free. 116 Fifth St. 707-544-8623, — The Chandi Hospitality Group will present its free second annual St. Paddy’s Day on the Square event from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse square with music by bagpipers, Sebastian Saint James, Lungs & Limbs and Sol Horizon, plus a performance by the Keenan Irish Dance School and a T-shirt giveaway. Brent Farris of KZST Radio will serve as master of ceremonies. The Stout Brothers Irish Pub & Restaurant on the square will serve corned beef and cabbage from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and feature DJ music from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Information:

• North Bay Cabaret presents the St. Paddy’s Day Blow Out, with live music, djs and circus performers, from 6 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. at Whiskey Tip, 1910 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. Lucky Ol’ Bones plays from 7 to 8 p.m., with the party to follow until 1 a.m. Admission: $10 at the door.Information:

• Sally Tomatoes celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with Irish specialty drinks and a $13.95 Irish buffet served from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. The event features a showing of the “The Quiet Man,” the classic 1952 John Wayne film set in Ireland. 1100 Valley House, Rohnert Park. 707-665-9472,

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