ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, but St. Paul will officially celebrate on Saturday.

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The annual parade starts downtown at noon. And then for the first time ever, the city’s going to block off West 7th Street for a block party.

St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in St. Paul, particularly at Patrick McGovern’s.

“I would say it’s about a month’s worth of business in one day,” Patrick Boemer said. “Which is pretty big.”

But this year, it’s going to be even bigger. St. Paul will hold its parade on Saturday, which is becoming more common around the country.

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Then the three-block area on West 7th, from Kellogg to Walnut, is going to be one big party.

The street has been blocked off before. They had to do it last year, but this time it will be planned.

“We’ve sometimes been overwhelmed by the crowds we’ve had and had to close the streets down for public safety purposes,” Joe Sullivan said. “So we’re just getting ahead of the eight ball.”

Bars from Tom Reid’s and Burger Moe’s on one end, to the Eagle Street and the Liffey will all be linked — even Cossetta’s.

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If you can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day, the annual Worst Irish Tenor contest is Wednesday night at Mancini’s.

Frank Vascellaro