MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Expect to see a lot of Irish spirit this weekend.
Monday is St. Patrick’s Day, but many celebrations will begin as soon as Friday.
One of the biggest celebrations is in the historically Irish city of St. Paul. The parade is usually held at noon on March 17. Now in its 48th year, the St. Patrick’s Day Association is considering a proposal to move the official celebration to a weekend, starting as early as next year.
St. Patrick’s Day is among St. Paul’s biggest single-day events along with Grand Old Day and Red Bull’s Crashed Ice.
“It’s the one day that a lot of these Minneapolis people come to St. Paul,” said Pat Boemer, owner of Pat McGovern’s Pub. “This is what people look forward to, coming down to the Irish establishments. On any given St. Patrick’s Day, we run about 20,000 people through here.”
Boemer is among dozens of business owners pushing to move the parade to the Saturday of St. Patrick’s Day weekend. It’s the type of two-for-one bar owners in the downtown area want to serve up: have the parade on a Saturday, then let the die-hards come back in on March 17 to celebrate.
“It makes all the sense in the world,” Boemer said. “People don’t have to work the next day and they can bring their kids out for the parade.”
But not everyone is raising a glass to the proposal. Some argue moving the parade off the actual holiday will ruin the tradition and could lose support from long-time participants.
Mayor Chris Coleman’s office says it supports moving the parade to a weekend. Along with bringing in additional revenue, the city would have more flexibility to close down roads for the parade and its thousands of revelers.
The St. Patrick’s Day Association hasn’t made its decision public yet, but Boemer says the parades will be held on Saturdays from now on.
Minneapolis holds its parade on St. Patrick’s Day evenings and has said it has no plans to change that.