Lobo Del Mar performs with Gail Rice. (PHOTO COURTESY OF GAIL RICE FOR NHN)
Irish bar maids pose for an undated photo. (PHOTO COURTESY OF GAIL RICE FOR NHN)
Lobo Del Mar plays in an undated photo. (PHOTO COURTESY OF GAIL RICE FOR NHN)
The St. Paddy’s Day party at Pukalani Stables is 6-10 p.m., March 16. (PHOTO COURTESY OF GAIL RICE FOR NHN)
“I had a St. Patrick’s Day Party at my house for 15 years,” said Gail Rice, preparing for her Second Annual St. Paddy’s Day Celebration at Pukalani Stables in Waimea, 6-10 p.m., Saturday, March 16.
“When it started to outgrow the house, I thought of renting a place,” she said. “Then I thought, maybe I could do a fundraiser.”
Having helped produce a Willie Nelson benefit concert for Paniolo Preservation Society earlier, she decided to donate proceeds from the party to Paniolo Heritage Center.
Interestingly, Waimea’s paniolo heritage has historical Irish ties from favorite son Ikua Purdy, who rode to victory at the 1908 Cheyenne Frontier Days National Rodeo. Ikua’s grandfather was another legendary cowboy, “Irish Jack” Purdy, who arrived to Hawaii Island about 1834, a young sailor washed ashore after a shipwreck.
French writer and diplomat Charles de Varigny (who would serve as cabinet minister for King Kamehameha V), wrote a colorful “tall tale” about Jack Purdy in his book “Quatorze Ans aux Iles Sandwich.” According to de Varigny, Jack was “the best rider in the islands, the most fearless hunter of wild bullocks.” Jack also hired out as a guide for tourists, including de Varigny, and in his off-time was known to enjoy the wee nip.
The story tells of Jack’s adventure with hunter and traveler Julius Brenchley, hiking on the slopes of Mauna Kea. After several days, without horse, gun or rope, Jack Purdy miraculously captured and killed a bull in a mud bog, lit a fire and cooked them a steak dinner on the spot.
Whether the tale is 100 percent true or not, certainly paniolo ingenuity is something to celebrate, and a reason to lift a glass with friends. The St. Paddy’s Day event will provide the proper atmosphere, and include all the essentials: good fun, music and food, in one of the greenest towns on the planet.
“Our food is being catered by the Fish and the Hog,” said Rice. “They’re making corned beef and cabbage, and we have Irish soda bread from Mamane Street Bakery. Tom and Jane from Big Island Brewhaus are donating two kegs of their Irish Ale that they make just for St. Patrick’s Day every year, and we got wine at good discount from Kamuela Liquor Store. Everyone’s been so generous.”
Irish music will be provided by Chritean Mac Ioso’g (pronounced “Cusack”), from Belfast.
“He plays all kinds of music, and was in rock and roll bands in Europe,” said Rice. “But he’s going back to his roots and playing more Irish pub music.”
Also scheduled is accomplished fiddler Tony Selvage of Healing Music in Mountain View. A prolific arranger, composer, film scorer and musician, Selvage has worked with such stars as Billy Joel, Ella Fitzgerald and Liza Minnelli.
More fun includes Irish Bingo, bagpipers, dancing, Tarot card readings, costume contests, prizes and “Leaping Leprechauns.” Talented members of Na Hoku O Waimea horse-vaulting team, coached by Loki Feliciano, will sport leprechaun costumes and wow the crowd with feats of acrobatic balance, dance and athletic grace on horseback.
Transportation from the Kohala Coast resort area will be provided by Taikobo Tours. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the gate, $5 for keiki under 6 years, with proceeds benefiting the Paniolo Heritage Center. One drink included, food additional. For more information, visit www.PanioloPreservation.org, or call 854-1541.