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Live music and green beer are back for St. Patrick's celebration in downtown Kalamazoo

The extra foot traffic downtown is great news for businesses and restaurants alike, many of which have faced a difficult year during the Covid-19 pandemic. (WWMT/Manny Revilla)

Get out your favorite green outfit, this weekend everybody's Irish in downtown Kalamazoo.

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership was scheduled to host St. Patrick's Day celebration Saturday, March 13, 2021.

The celebration comes a year into the COVID-19 pandemic for Michigan. St. Patrick's Day 2020, fell one week after the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the state. It was the first holiday to see event cancellations due to the state of emergency declared by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

While this will be the second year in a row without the St. Patrick's Day parade, Saturday would feature live outdoor Irish music performances throughout downtown from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. to get you in the spirit. Look for musicians on Bates Alley, the north Kalamazoo Mall, and at the Kalamazoo State Theater.

Bob Lewis, one of the partners of Millennium Restaurant Group in the Kalamazoo area, said seeing the success of events like the Chili Cookoff a few weeks back has offers hope for the future.

“To find these other little things we can do to still bring people downtown so people can be out and interact safely with their mask on a social distancing and be outside,. It's absolutely phenomenal," Lewis said. " It’s incredibly critical right now."

Lewis, who operates the Tap House on the Kalamazoo Mall, said this would be the first of hopefully many similar style events this summer to draw people to downtown.

Saturday would offer a chance to sip and stroll with green beer from one of the bars downtown participating in the Central Commons Refreshment Area. Rumor has it St. Patrick and Liam the Leprechaun would be making appearances as well to spread their luck and charm.

"You’re taking an event and instead of having it in a very centric area where people are lined up watching a parade, you’re spreading it out," Lewis said. "So again people can be safe, and they can have a good time.”

The celebration would be open to all ages. Due to the pandemic, those visiting were asked to wear masks when approaching any outdoor tents and maintain 6 feet of distance from others.

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