Irish March Madness

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Los Gatos: ‘Irish March Madness’ returns to town

By Judy Peterson, jpeterson@community-newspapers.com

POSTED:   03/09/2016 06:02:54 PM PST | UPDATED:   ABOUT 14 HOURS AGO

File photograph by George Sakkestad Colorful kilts are all the rage on St. Patrick s Day, when…

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but the day celebrating his death–believed to be March 17, 461–has become a worldwide event as the Irish and Irish-at-heart celebrate the country’s culture with parades, dances, corned beef and cabbage and, of course, the “wearin’ of the green.”

Los Gatos has its own St. Pat’s tradition that has been carried on for 36 years by C.B. Hannegan’s owners Johnny Hannegan and Chris Benson.

Their annual St. Patrick’s Day party is now known as “Irish March Madness Week” since activities run March 13-18.

“It’s not easy having so much fun,” said Hannegan. “You have to set up stages and everything else to accommodate all the people and festivities.”

The festivities open March 13 with a performance by singer Patrick Lynch, who appears from 6 to 9 p.m. with the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Harp Society.

On March 14 pianist Mark Robinson takes the stage from 6 to 9 p.m., while March 15 will see Capitola’s Famous Depot Dogs performing from 7 to 10 p.m.

Los Gatos resident Richard Katz and his Irish Band return to Hannegan’s March 16 from 7 to 10 p.m. Katz is a well-known bagpiper who will undoubtedly be wearing a kilt during the performance.

Many locals get their kilts from O’Reilly Kilts, which will be displaying kilt fashions throughout the evening on March 16. Although O’Reilly Kilts is in Los Gatos, owner Regina Reilly works by appointment only. Visit oreillykilts.com for more information.

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Also expect to see the C.B. Hannegan’s Homeboy Bagpipe Band on March 16 and again on March 17.

In fact, St. Patrick’s Day itself is a nonstop whirl of activities with various bands, pipers and dancers performing throughout the day and evening.

The pub is open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, with food served until approximately 9 p.m.

Tickets cost $50 and can purchased at the pub, 208 Bachman Ave.

“A lot of people show up for lunch, go back to work and then come back for dinner because the tickets have in and out privileges,” chef Max Benson said. “We’ll have an all-you-can-eat barbecue with Guinness lamb stew, corned beef and cabbage with root vegetables, shepherd’s pie and a rotisserie pig.”

He also promises plenty of side dishes like cole slaw, caesar salad and sauerkraut, plus fresh oysters shucked by “Bill the Oyster Man” from Santa Cruz.

“We start preparing things like shepherd’s pie a few days in advance so we don’t get caught with our kilts down,” Benson joked. “But the fresh food–the pig, chickens and sausages–come right off the grill.”

It takes roughly 140 people to keep all the St. Patrick’s Day revelers happy. “We have a lot of volunteers, including members of the Lions club and members of our softball team,” Hannegan said. “Plus our regular staff of 55 people will be working day and night.”

One of those staffers is Eibhlin Gerbino, who has been a popular waitress at Hannegan’s since 1990. Gerbino is an Irish immigrant who says Hannegan’s represents “a little piece of home for me.”

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