GREAT FALLS — Reporter Cade Menter visited the City Bar and the Celtic Cowboy in downtown Great Falls to find out how they are preparing to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Restaurant and bar owners say that with St. Patrick’s Day a little over a week away, they have already begun preparations, as they expect one of the busiest days of the year, getting ready for those to celebrate Irish pride. According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 54% of people plan to celebrate this year, and that the average person is expected to spend a little more than $42 on St. Patrick's Day related items, with total spending expected to hit more than $5.8 billion dollars.
Brad Watson, owner of City Bar on Central Avenue, said, "I think it's going to be a good year. We got a parade again, Parade starts at 4 o'clock. I think it's going to be busy because people are ready to get out."
Not only are restaurants and bars preparing for people to get out and enter their doors, the community is also in store for their annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, a traditional event that was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. As the parade is set to start this year, that also means time for preparation.
Watson continued, "I bumped my staff up for that day. I got plenty of green beer ready to roll, and party favors, so come on down and enjoy the lunch."
In Great Falls, there is also the Celtic Cowboy, which is known for being one of the most popular hotspots for celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
Peter Jennings, owner of the Celtic Cowboy, said , "How do we prepare for St. Patrick's Day? We hire bands, local musicians for the most part. In the past, we've had some from out of town, but this year, they're all from the Great Falls area. Probably 12 hours straight of corned beef and cabbage and chips and Irish music, and a lot of happy people hopefully."
He says that staff plays a major role in preparing a large celebration, and that despite the two-year challenge to keep up with full staff, he said that this year, he will be ready for one of the busiest crowds.
"It's still a challenge," Jennings noted. "But we've anticipated having Art Week and St. Patrick's Day overlapping. This year, we've tried to get staff to full capacity, so we're ready for it."
Both restaurants and bars said that it may be one of the busiest times of the year, it is also one of the most exciting events to prepare for, and that despite some of the challenges from the pandemic last year, they look forward to see an increasing amount of people entering their doors.