There are few holidays as vibrant and exciting as St. Patrick’s Day; and there’s no better way to celebrate than hosting a backyard greenfest filled with good luck, good food and good times.
Ensuring that your backyard is prepped for safety is a crucial step to take before your green clad guests arrive. It may not seem like an obvious priority, but making sure that your friends and family have a safe place to celebrate will save you stress in the long run.
If you’re planning on doing any grilling for your St. Paddy’s day menu, practice fire safety and keep an eye on the barbecue and griddle by having a fire extinguisher nearby. Tarps can also be placed underneath the grill to catch any soot or flyaway ashes.
Prior to your party commencing, gather up any fallen branches or debris with the help of custom tarps so your entertainment space is clear. And since there’s a good chance that your backyard bash will go on well into the night, proper lighting in your outdoor entertaining area is a must. It ensures that you and your guests will be able to avoid any trips or falls after the sun sets.
It simply wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without green as far as the eye can see. The vibrant green of shamrocks has been associated with the holiday for centuries, and can be found everywhere from the clothes of Leprechauns to the Irish flag itself. And lucky for you, integrating this hue into your backyard festivities is a breeze.
Set the St. Patrick’s scene with green garlands, tinted light bulbs, and sectional covers emblazoned with a lucky green shamrock graphic. Hand out green bead necklaces and shamrock pins to your guests as they arrive. This is especially important if someone breaks the cardinal rule of St. Paddy’s: showing up not wearing any green!
Don’t forget to incorporate the pot ‘o’ gold among your green decor. Adding tinsel, chocolate gold coins spread across tables or custom covers, or gold balloons tied throughout the yard coordinates perfectly with the greens and creates a festive atmosphere.
The Perfect Pour
In preparation for your St. Patrick’s bash, get ready to break out the steins and pint glasses. Serving and enjoying beers has long been a staple of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the globe, and while dark stouts are the traditional choice of brew, it’s never a bad idea to branch out into other taste profiles.
In order for your guests to experience all the beers you have to offer, consider adding a pouring station to the yard. A setup of simple folding tables covered with tarps to keep things clean works perfectly as a makeshift bar. Serve each guest’s chosen beer in green pint glasses for an extra bit of fun. And if you’re feeling sentimental add some green food coloring to your lagers and other light-colored beers and ales for a festive feel.
Need some brew inspiration? Here are some lucky St. Patrick’s Day picks:
- Stouts: Dark, rich and creamy stouts like Guinness are without a doubt the most popular choice on this holiday, and add a touch of Irish authenticity to your party.
- Lagers: If warm spring weather has arrived in your area, a light lager will be a delicious option for those looking to cool down.
- Red Ales: Malty, balanced, and with just a hint of caramel sweetness, these ales can serve as a wonderful taste contrast to heavier stouts.
- Take it up a notch and serve a black-and-tan; the different densities of Bass Ale and Guinness allow for the perfect pour.
A bevy of brews calls for a rich meal to match. Traditional Irish fare is hearty and filling, with a focus on corned meats, potato dishes, and bread made by hand. As March 17th was considered to be a break from the strict rules of Lent, going all out with rich food and drink is encouraged.
Shepherd’s pie is the perfect dish to serve your St. Paddy’s party guests. It’s as simple to make as it is delicious, and pairs wonderfully with a cold pint of Guinness. For a proper pie, you’ll need:
- 1.5lbs ground lamb (you can sub beef, but then it’s a cottage pie)
- 1 diced onion
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 2 cups frozen carrots, thawed
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2T of all-purpose flour
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup of chicken broth (beef broth with a cottage pie)
- 2t of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2t chopped fresh rosemary
- 1t chopped fresh thyme
- Salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings
Add peeled and quartered potatoes to a medium-sized pot. Add about an inch of cold water. Toss in a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender (about 20 minutes).
Get started on the rest of your veggies while the potatoes are cooking. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan on medium heat and add onion and carrots, cooking until tender. Peas should be added later, as they cook much faster.
Add ground lamb to the vegetable mix. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until brown. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, cooking one more minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, and thyme. Cook uncovered for ten minutes.
Remove potatoes from heat and add to bowl with the remaining butter. Mash with fork or masher. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread meat and vegetables evenly in a casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes on top, making sure to create “peaks” in the potatoes by using a fork to scrape up the surface.
Cook for 30 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Sprinkle with shredded cheese if desired, or add chopped chives or scallions to give your dish a festive pop of green that will match your festive sectional covers.
The Game is Afoot
Making sure there’s plenty of activities to partake in between pints and plates is the mark of a host with the most. And there’s no shortage of festive St. Patrick’s Day games that your guests will get a kick out of.
- Pot o’ gold toss: For this straightforward game, set up two plastic cauldrons on custom tarps and hand out gold plastic coins. Divide your guests into two teams and have them toss the coins into the pots of gold. Whichever team has the most gold in their pot at the end wins!
- Irish musical chairs: Putting an Irish twist on this classic party game is simple. Play traditional Celtic songs for the musical portion, and adorn the aforementioned chairs with festive green cushion covers.