Green day

Celebrate St. Pat's Day - Steamboat style

— Without the annual St. Patrick's Day Bump Off, locals and tourists may look toward restaurants and bars for their entertainment to celebrate the Irish holiday, but a festive Torch Light parade and fireworks will help brighten the moods.

But don't look too far off the mountain.

Spectators can park themselves on the run See Me at 7:30 p.m. and watch the parade, followed by a display of colorful fireworks.

A Click contest for skiers and snowboarders will have its first competitor drop into the half-pipe at 11 a.m. Saturday, before the slopestyle competition at 1:30 p.m. in the Dude Ranch Terrain Park.

In the 11-foot walls that frame the 500-foot long half-pipe, competitors are allowed two runs. In the slopestyle competition, participants take one run incorporating a jump and a rail slide. Judges will look at the jump, rail slide and the fluidity of overall run to determine who is the best.

As usual, boys and girls under 18 will be separated from the women's and the men's divisions. Participants can win cash and merchandise prizes awarded to the top three places in each classification.

A $20 entry fee for one event or $30 for both events can be paid between 9 and 11 a.m. at The Click or the day of the event at the top of the half-pipe. The event is sponsored by The Click, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Nitro, Nixon, 32 and Volcom.

A history lesson

St. Patrick, named Maewyn, was a pagan boy born in Wales before A.D. 400. At 16, Maewyn was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During captivity, paganism turned to a love for Christianity and six years later, he escaped. Running to Gaul to study under St. Germain, a bishop of Auxerre for 12 years, we became aware of his calling to convert all pagans into Christians.

He believed pagans had overrun Ireland and wished to be returned to fulfill his calling. Unfortunately for Patrick, his new Christian name, his superiors appointed St. Palladius, but he quickly returned to Scotland.

After becoming bishop, Patrick upset the Celtic Druids while converting pagans. He was arrested many times, but escaped to establish monasteries throughout Ireland. His mission through Ireland lasted for 30 years, until he died March 17 A.D. 461, hence St. Patrick's Day.

The day has since become more of a secular holiday than the original Catholic holiday. St. Patrick was thought to have raised people from the dead and given sermons from a hilltop that drove away all the snakes in Ireland.

St. Patrick used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the Trinity - the representation that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity.

St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in the United States in Boston in 1737. The traditional holiday celebrated in green represents spring, Ireland and the shamrock.

St. Patrick's Day also is associated with leprechauns the Irish fairy, a small man dressed like a shoemaker, with a cocked hat and a leather apron.

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