As we turn the calendar to March, winter relaxes its grip and lawns gradually shed their drab yellows and browns in favor of the bright green of early spring. Another type of green becomes prevalent during this month: the green of St. Patrick’s Day. This day celebrates Irish culture and traditions and offers a variety of fun, family-friendly fundraising opportunities for your organization.
Few things speak more eloquently of a culture than its food, and the distinct flavors of Irish cuisine add up to comfort food for many. Irish favorites such as corned beef and cabbage or shepherd’s pie are very popular, as are virtually any green-colored foods: mint cakes, even “lucky” green mashed potatoes! Clover- or leprechaun-shaped cookies could be offered as a treat after the meal. For a nominal added charge, you could offer guests of legal age green beer or an Irish coffee.
Another popular expression of a culture is through its music. Traditional Irish music and dance, performed live, add a lively, spirited atmosphere to any St. Patrick’s Day event; if unavailable in your area or out of your budget, a recording will lend a joyful note to your event.
Know any tellers of tall tales? Invite them to participate in your event and tell their favorite stories. You could throw in a twist – the storytellers could weave a series of yarns and one true story, and ask guests to determine which is the true story and which are the fish stories. This can be a fun one for older kids as well.
Leprechauns and shamrocks are synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day, and no celebration of the day can be considered compete without them. You could print out leprechaun or shamrock templates from the internet and provide crayons for coloring them at a children’s table. A costume contest is another fun idea for the young and the young at heart.
Another option is to cut out smaller templates and place them in a large bowl or jar, offering a small prize to the lucky guest who correctly guesses how many there are (or comes closest). For this activity, depending on the value of the prize, you might want to charge a small participation fee.
If a stone of suitable size is handy, you could set up a “kiss the blarney stone” station and offer guests the opportunity to kiss the stone in hopes of its giving them the gift of gab and good luck.
A “Pot o’ Gold” raffle (at the end of a rainbow, of course!) is a fun way to boost your fundraising efforts. Prizes could be gift certificates from local businesses, a basket full of themed goodies – or even a trip for two to Ireland!
Have fun with this colorful celebration!