As February turns to March, Wisconsin turns from white to green. The City of Green Bay really knows how to turn the town green in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day: Parades, music and fireworks all over downtown. Restaurants, bakeries and taverns drag out their Irish cookbooks and everyone in town is scouring closets for “Kiss me I’m Irish” shirts – even if their heritage says otherwise. (Just 9.2 percent of the population of Green Bay profess to be Irish.)
Traditionally, Saint Patrick’s Day in Green Bay is a beloved holiday for anyone looking for a reason to drink. Green Bay, much like Ireland, is known for their drinking. This year, the holiday falls into the college’s Spring break, allowing plenty of time for students to find their “Irish roots” at the bottom of a Guinness – and still have time to recover before class.
The holiday has evolved from a holy day of obligation to a whole day of intoxication. Saint Patrick, for whom the day is named after, is credited for the shift in religion in Ireland. After his push for conversion – and after his death around the fifth century – March 17th became a day of worship for Irish Catholics. The day didn’t become a holiday until 1631 when a church established a feast day for Patron Saint Patrick thus, began the transformation into a day of food and alcohol in lieu of religion.
This year, Green Bay is taking TWO days to celebrate. It’s like a Packer weekend in the middle of March. On Saturday, March 17, many pubs and taverns – including Shenanigans Irish Pub downtown – open at 6 AM for the true believers. The annual St. Patrick’s Parade & Fireworks kick off the weekend. The parade begins at 9 AM with face painting, an Irish Blessing, a performance by the Heritage Irish Dance Academy and a firework/smoke show at 2 PM. St. Brendan’s Inn continues the fun with a huge, heated, outdoor beer tent and four live bands.
After a full day of parading and drinking, citizens can stumble across the greenish river to Titletown Brewing Company for a traditional dinner of corned beef, cabbage, soda bread and more! The night ends with live entertainment from performers such as Tarl Knight, Phoney Mahoney and, Wine: Behind the Curtain.
But wait… the fun’s not over!
On Sunday, you can once again enjoy a tasty traditional dinner at Titletown, or St Brendan’s or a variety of other authentic and/or NOT Irish restaurants in town. Most of the Mexican Restaurants celebrate with their own unique interpretations of Margaritas, Guacamole and Corned Beef Tacos. Traditional “Irish Pizza Makers” Gallagher’s and Papa Murphy’s, offer special deals as well.
If you’re not on a beach, better be on the ‘Bay. Get ‘yer Green on – Green Bay style; NO ONE does Green – and Gold – better.
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