ST. PAUL (WCCO) — This Saturday, it’s going to get busy in St. Paul. An estimated 100,000 people are expected be downtown for a number of events Saturday.
The Get Lucky half marathon starts at 8 a.m., the St. Patty’s Day Parade kicks off at noon, the Wild play at the Xcel Energy Center at 1 p.m. and the Gophers could be playing for a WCHA championship at 7 p.m.
Add sunshine and general St. Patrick’s Day revelry, and it’s a recipe for a big day of business, and a tricky day to get around. You might need the luck of the Irish to find a parking spot or a seat in the bar.
At The Liffey Irish Pub, the signs and shamrocks are already in place, the beer stacked to the ceiling, because come Saturday, General Manager Jay Johnson doesn’t want to press his luck.
“Madness in a good way,” said Johnson. It’s strange when you have two events on the same day, on top of St. Patrick’s Day, on top of a Saturday, on top of 75 degree weather, so it’s fantastic.”
Adam Johnson, VP of Marketing at Visit Saint Paul, anticipates two sold out games drawing 40,000 people.
“Sports fans are obviously passionate about the Wild, passionate about their collegiate teams. We got six teams in town during the weekend. The Gophers are here, which is always huge, first time they’ve been here in three years, so I think they’ll be a little controlled madness, people looking to have a good time,” said Johnson.
Still, he says 50,000 more could crowd the streets.
Hockey fans will likely run right into the St. Patrick’s Day parade, or dodge runners from the Get Lucky Half Marathon.
That’s why at The Liffey, Jay Johnson’s just ordered 50 more kegs, and made sure his rooftop terrace is ready for record crowds. Last year, he shoveled snow off the roof for the holiday, this year he decided to skip putting up a tent because of the warm weather.
“The lines will be long,” he said. “It’s our most successful day.”
Metro Transit teamed up with Miller Lite to offer free rides on their buses and light rails after 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Many of the bars are offering shuttles, too.
St. Paul Police have extra patrols, and they’ll be here on horseback, motorcycles and added 24 extra officers as part of a Safe and Sober campaign to watch out for drunk drivers.