St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated this weekend with the traditional parades in St. Paul and Minneapolis, but without the unseasonably warm weather marchers enjoyed last year.
Because March 17 falls on a Sunday, parades will be held on Saturday. That’s also the night when Metro Transit will be offering free rides on buses, the light-rail line and Northstar commuter rail.
St. Paul’s 47th annual parade will begin at noon at 5th and Broadway streets, and move west down 5th to Rice Park. For more information, go to www.stpatsassoc.org.
The 45th annual parade in Minneapolis will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Nicollet Mall and 11th Street, and move up the mall to 5th Street. For more information, see www.mplsstpats.org.
Free rides will be available on Metro Transit starting at 6 p.m. Saturday and ending with the last scheduled trips after midnight. Free rides also will be offered on routes operated by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority.
Last year, more than 56,000 free rides were provided.
For the first time this year, St. Paul will block off two blocks of W. 7th Street — between Kellogg Boulevard and Walnut Street — to let revelers take better advantage of the many establishments on that stretch. Hours for the block party will be 2 to 10 p.m.
The high temperature last year for St. Patrick’s Day was 80 degrees, a Twin Cities record. Temperatures this weekend are expected to be considerably cooler, with highs possibly reaching into the 30s. But there’s very little chance of rain or snow.