Did you know that each person spends around $36.52 on St. Patrick’s Day, totaling about $4.6 billion according to the National Retail Federation? If the holiday itself doesn’t involve enough green, the profits raked in surely make up for it.
As a traditional holiday, St. Patrick’s Day gives those of Irish dissent an opportunity to celebrate their heritage and for everyone else it is a chance to celebrate their alcohol tolerance. Nationwide people will graciously celebrate without a clue as to the true origin or meaning of the holiday.
Of the few that attempt to keep tradition alive, New York City hosts one of the largest parades and has kept true to its traditions since 1762 in prohibiting the use of floats, vehicles, or any other modern day devices. The one and only windy city, Chicago, takes 40 tons of green dye and dumps it into the Chicago River just to get the green shade up to par!
Some call it insanity, others call it incredible, but the holiday itself is undeniably interesting. The fact alone that St. Patrick’s Day used to be a dry holiday due to its religious affiliation, while today it fills pubs, restaurants, and grocery stores with green themed alcoholic products, shows the irony in itself.
As most cities, Roanoke was no exception to the green festivities. On Saturday the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival took place downtown with plenty of activities. The streets were lined for the parade promptly at 10am, mostly with families and their pups anxiously waiting for the 11am start time. After the end of the parade, families and young adults alike flocked to restaurants such as Billy’s and Sidewinders for some post parade relaxation.
Corned Beef & Co. hosted a Celtic Celebration from 10am – 5pm featuring Second Wynde, which drew in quite the crowd. Despite multiple levels, including a spacious poolroom and rooftop section, the place was a mad house combined with families trying to eat lunch and the younger crowd trying to drink green beer and acquire as many green beads as possible. This was a setting best described as chaotic and an extremely stimulating dynamic for servers who didn’t get a moment to rest as they tended to the mass amounts of inflowing customers of all ages. Although, the tips at the end of the night were arguably equivalent to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, in Irish traditional folk tales there actually are no female leprechauns.