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Crowds Flock To St. Paul To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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(credit: CBS) Lauren Casey
Lauren Casey joined the WCCO-TV weather team in August 2011, a...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’re in St. Paul, you won’t need the help of a leprechaun to find the St. Patrick’s Day party, just head downtown to the sea of green.

“St. Paul has a deep Irish community and a deep Irish heritage that’s been going on for years,” Chris Vikers with the St. Patrick’s Association said.

The city’s very first Celtic celebration took place in 1851. The parades are a newer tradition, held annually for the last 48 years.

St. Paul’s celebration will likely be moved to Saturdays starting next year.

“The last two years with the celebrations being on Saturdays, we’ve had time to test that. We’ve had such a good response,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “It’s more family friendly. To take the kids out of school on a year like this when they’ve already missed six to seven days because of the weather. I think we’ll see bigger crowds and it’ll continue to be a great tradition. You know Boston does it and Chicago does it and they’re great Irish cities just like St. Paul.”

The group that runs the parade wants it to stay on March 17th.

“We have a petition we’re actually signing to keep it on that day,” said Vickers. “It’s just like July 4th falls on whichever day July 4th falls on. So does St. Patrick’s Day.”

Despite Monday’s dreary weather, Coleman expected 40,000 to 50,000 people to layer on the green and come out to celebrate.

“It’s a great way to keep the spirits up when it’s so cold outside, you gotta make it to spring!” Colleen Dougherty said.

The St. Patrick’s Day celebration is one of the biggest days of the year in St. Paul, right behind Grand Old Day.

Minneapolis holds its parade Monday night. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and travels down Nicollet Mall between 13th and 5th Streets.

St. Paddy’s Day Food

While the 48th annual parade marched through downtown, not everyone celebrated street-side. The Minnesota Police Pipe Band went from bar to bar across St. Paul and Minneapolis spreading the spirit.

On a day when Irish culture is celebrated, shamrock-brandished pubs are seeing green, and not just the beer!

Pat McGovern’s Pub on West 7th Street in St. Paul estimates 20-thousand people will stop in for atleast one drink on St. Patrick’s Day. Along with alcohol, a lot of bars are serving St. Paddy’s Day-themed food.

Joe Bennett, of Bennett’s Chop and Railhouse says March 17 is the biggest and most fun day of the year.

The most popular menu item is the traditional corned beef and cabbage which is slow cooked in Finnegans beer to give it a little more Irish punch. Last year, the restaurant tried a new twist on a traditional favorite. The Reuben egg rolls were so popular with guests, they’ve become a permanent menu item, and the number one selling appetizer. For dessert, a sweet treat you don’t need to show an ID for: the Guinness brownie with Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting.

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