Oh to be in an Irish band on St. Patrick's Day weekend.
Expect cramped fingers, tired vocal cords, and general exhaustion tempered by hours of good times playing music for hundreds of green beer-drinking revelers.
"It gets pretty exhausting," said Ellen McCarty of the 13-year-old band Extra Stout, which has multiple bookings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. "By the end of that weekend we're pretty wiped out."
The six-person band will play five shows over three days starting Friday with three sets at Irish Eyes Heavenly Pub in West Toledo beginning at 10 p.m., three sets at McCarthy's Pub in Port Clinton on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., a couple of sets at the Hibernian St. Patrick's Day party in West Toledo on Sunday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., followed by three sets Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Mt Loonies in Temperance.
If you do the math, that's 10 or 11 songs per set, for a total of more than 100 songs over the course of the weekend.
Extra Stout focuses on Irish sing-alongs and audience participation music, along with some contemporary folk, country, and rock songs. Or as McCarty put it: "A lot of songs about sailing and drinking, fighting, and people die all the time in Irish songs."
For her, part of the fun is people watching as she sings and occasionally plays mandolin. "I think I enjoy just watching everybody having a good time. The applause is great and it's really nice when people are listening to you," she said.
Here is a rundown of some other weekend activities at Irish-themed events and bars in northwest Ohio:
■ The Hibernians will have a family-friendly Irish festival from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Knights of Columbus, 4256 Secor Rd. There will be Irish food, refreshments, vendors, music, and dancing. Information: 419-405-1264.
■ The Blarney at 601 Monroe St. in downtown Toledo will have a weekend-long blowout starting Friday night when The Bridges play at 9 p.m. The restaurant will be open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and will feature the band Arctic Clam. On Sunday The Blarney will open at 7 a.m. and feature music throughout the day, including Dragon Wagon at noon, Bloody Tinth at 4:30, and Noise Pollution at 9. Information: theblarneyirishpub.com.
■ Shawn's Irish Tavern, 4400 Heatherdowns Blvd. in Toledo; 105 South Third St. in Waterville; and 7436 Bancroft St. in Sylvania Township; will be open beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday. Music at the Toledo location will feature Johnny Rodriquez from 6 p.m. until midnight. Music at the Waterville location will feature Chris Brown and Candice Coleman from 4 to 7 and the Villains from 7 to 10. Chris Knopp will play at the Sylvania Township location from 6 to 10. Information: 419-381-1281 for Toledo, 419-441-1081 for Waterville, and 419-724-7981 for Sylvania Township and shawnsirishtavern.com.
■ Claddagh Irish Pub, 5001 Monroe St., will open at 10 a.m. and feature music all day from the Clifft Millman, noon; Gingerlove, 4 p.m.; and Scarecrow Jones, 8 p.m. There will be a large heated tent. Information: 419-472-1414 and claddaghirishpubs.com.
■ Jiggs and jigs are on order Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, Adams and St. Clair streets. A Jiggs dinner with homemade corned beef and fixings will be served in the adjacent My Brothers's Place dining hall. Following the feed, food for the Celtic soul is to be delivered by Tapestry, harpist Denise and guitarist Michael Grupp Verbon. Food is served starting at noon, with music to commence at 2 p.m. in the nave. Reservations are needed for the meal at 419-243-1231, which costs $10 per person. Concert tickets are $12-$15 at the door.
Contact Rod Lockwood at email@example.com or 419-724-6159.