It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and those who are Irish and those who pretend to be don green and celebrate the holiday that pays tribute to the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
The local revelry includes big parades in both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul Thursday.
For the 50th year, the St. Paul St. Patrick’s Day Association parade stepped off at high noon at 5th Street and Wacouta. Bands, floats and clans of all kinds made their way down 5th Street to Rice Park. A total of 95 entries took part in the always-lively affair.
In Minneapolis, the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Association will put on a parade for the 47th straight year. This year’s acts will march down Marquette Avenue from 11th Street to 5th Street. Things stepped off at 7:30 p.m.
A number of bars and restaurants in both cities and the suburbs hold St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and offer specials, too. To help revelers get home safely, Metro Transit has teamed with JJ Taylor Distributing and Miller Lite to offer free rides on buses and light-rail trains from 6 p.m. Thursday until 3 a.m. Friday. Free rides also are available on the bus routes operated by the Metropolitan Council, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, SouthWest Transit and Anoka County Traveler.
Last year the transit agencies provided more than 60,000 free rides on St. Patrick’s Day, said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.
Extra patrols will be on the lookout for drivers who have had too much to drink. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most dangerous nights on state roads, the State Patrol said.
Last year 136 motorists were arrested for drunken driving, said Sgt. Jesse Grabow, who urged those going out to line up a sober ride.
Over the past five years, law enforcement made 1,192 arrests statewide, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety