The Twin Cities may not dye its river green, but it does host a slew of other spectacles to kick off St. ­Patrick's Day weekend.

Green boas, beads and beer were the most common accessories at St. Paul's first LuckyPalooza block party Saturday afternoon, which organizers said drew about 20,000 people downtown. Two blocks of W. 7th Street were dedicated to outdoor music, food vendors and a stunt-bike show from 2 to 11 p.m.

St. Paul, with its high concentration of Irish-Catholic settlers and Irish pubs, is already the epicenter of St. Patty's Day celebrations in the Twin Cities metro. But after the city's successful Red Bull Crashed Ice event on the same street in January, organizers said they wanted a repeat performance for this holiday.

"The goal is to show people visiting that St. Patrick's Day is a big day in St. Paul, and we know how to celebrate it," said event spokesman Adam Johnson.

Restaurants along W. 7th helped finance the event and McGovern's, Burger Moe's and Cossetta's threw tent parties for additional exposure.

Carrie McClure, a regular St. Paul paradegoer, said she ventured downtown with her family for a more authentic St. Patty's Day celebration.

"St. Paul feels more like a close-knit family," while Minneapolis doesn't have the same hometown vibe, said McClure, who's part Irish-Italian.

Parents lifted toddlers above their heads to watch local Red Bull athlete Aaron Colton perform his bicycle stunts down the middle of the street. For some families, LuckyPalooza was the first introduction their children had to St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Terra Schmitt toted around her 1-year-old daughter, Annabel, dressed in green pants with white polka dots, so she could observe the party in person.

"We just want her to be around people and music," said Schmitt, who used to attend large St. Patrick's Day gatherings when she lived in Chicago.

Across the river, more than 11,000 runners participated Saturday in Minneapolis' annual Get Lucky Half Marathon and 7K.

Metro Transit offered free rides on buses, light rail and Northstar from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday for partyers to get home safely. The deal is also offered on Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. for those who download a pass on the event's webpage: www.visitsaintpaul.com/Lucky

New Uber users can also sign up with the promo code STPAUL to get a group of friends a free ride home.

Vita.mn contributed to this report.