Sunday, March 22, 2015

Faith and Begorrah - St. Patrick's in Loreto!

I’m not sure what it is about St. Patrick’s Day that has the almost universal appeal to bring out the “Irish” in almost any Nationality on March 17th each year – but the power of the “green” seems to affect people here as much, or perhaps even more, than anywhere I have lived before.  Perhaps the answer is that people here are generally up for a good time, with most of the growing ex-pat population here either retired, or visiting on holiday.  Regardless, this year there was the best St. Patrick’s Day celebration I have been to, certainly since I have lived here in Loreto, perhaps ever! 

I have written before about previous parties on the 17th, most recently two years ago when there was a Street Party in Loreto Bay organized by El Cardon Cantina, one of the restaurants here ( ) which is owned by Kieran and Norma, a couple I have also profiled in an earlier posting, shortly after they opened their Loreto Bay location two and a half years ago (

Prior to opening El Cardon in Loreto Bay, they were operating their main restaurant in town called “1697” in reference to the arrival date here of the Jesuit Missionaries and the founding of the original Catholic Mission which is located nearby where their restaurant is located in the Town Square.  Which is a lengthy introduction to the fact that due to Kieran’s Irish heritage, I believe that there is a degree of authenticity, or at least legitimacy, to their festivities honoring the Irish Patron Saint.

But this year there was an additional attraction to the celebration.  Earlier this Season Kieran and Norma launched their own local microbrewery, El Zopilote Brewing Company, featuring three house brews: Tombstone Pale Ale, Rattlesnake IPA and El Bandito Stout and so my choice was clear as to where I would celebrate the “Glorious 17th”.  Since I had neglected to buy an advance ticket to the event I decided that I had better arrive early if I wanted to get into the party, so I headed into town just after 5:00 and found parking nearby the restaurant.

However, for this special night’s festivities, their regular restaurant facility would have been far too small and so they had opened up the large graveled area behind the building to accommodate the expected crowd of temporary Irish for the evening.  When I arrived there were already more than a few tables claimed, but I was able to join a number of Loreto Bay friends sitting to one side of the temporary stage set up at the far end of the property. 

And on the stage, warming up, were the first entertainers for the evening, also becoming a Loreto tradition, Los Beach Dogs, featuring original members Rich (guitar, keyboard and vocals) and Tony (drums) along with Adolfo (bass guitar), and his brother Ruben (lead guitar, who drove half a day from the town where he works as a teacher to make this gig) they were joined by Chucho (alternating on Bass for a few numbers) as well as Tim (another Loreto Bay Homeowner playing a mean “Harp” on several numbers) to round out this special St. Patrick’s line up.       

Due to changing personnel and schedules, this Season the ‘Dogs have had several incarnations, but this night’s line up was great, with Rich handling all the vocals while switching between his acoustic rhythm guitar and a recently added keyboard, including numbers from the familiar repertoire, as well as some new numbers I hadn’t heard from them before.  As they began their first set there was a steady stream of ticket holders arriving for the party as Norma greeted them and Kieran managed the kitchen producing a tasty sampler of “sliders” with fries, the special dish included in the ticket price.  Meanwhile other staff handled the flow of libations, including (of course) the trio of house-brewed beers along with other choices for those with “less authentic” beverage preferences.

As I sat enjoying the concert, the beverages and the company, I realized that it had been a while since I had spent an evening in town, due to a combination of factors including my work schedule, the increased dining options now in Loreto Bay, plus the reluctance to drive back home from town at night after enjoying several libations.  I was also struck with how Loreto has been changing from the somewhat sleepy town I had discovered over 10 years ago, to what has become a thriving ex-pat community which is impacting the culture and the day to day and the nightlife, in many, mostly positive ways – like the sounds of tonight’s concert echoing around the historic Town Square.

While the sold-out crowd included local Loretanos and lots of ex-pat “Townies”, it was my impression that the largest group in attendance had come in from Loreto Bay for the evening and that too made me realize again the impact that our Community is having on Loreto and influencing on how the town is changing.  And so, as I drove back to Loreto Bay, a little before “Baja Midnight”, I thought about how some traditions bridge Nationalities, and how for some of us celebrating an ancient Irish Priest is reason enough to have a party – especially if you’re Irish for the day - and are lucky enough to be “Living Loreto”!