PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Irish bar and restaurant owners are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday, March 17, and the pot of gold it’s bringing in.
After COVID-19 canceled last year’s celebrations, many people said they’re ready to go out and have fun. Business owners said people are wearing green- and spending it too.
“We’re expecting a typical St. Patrick’s Day,” said Ryan Donnelly, the owner of Donnelly’s Irish Pub.
On Wednesday, Peorians packed into bars and restaurants for celebrations.
“St. Patrick’s Day is obviously the biggest day of the year for all of the Irish pubs,” said Lauren Blasek, co-owner of W.E Sullivan’s.
For some people, it was an exciting day.
“People are going to be out and be in the best spirits possible,” said customer Jimmy Ulrich.
Last year, many people stayed in.
“I was home trying to help my grandson catch up on e-learning,” said customer Pat Test.
The holiday marks an unlucky start of the pandemic which put restaurants in a pinch.
“We had prepared and brought in inventory like it was going to be a normal St. Patrick’s Day,” said Donnelly.
The biggest day of the year for Irish bar and restaurants came up short last year.
“I think it’s very hard to recover from a day that actually helps you get through all of your business,” said Blasek.
But owners say they’re hopeful for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parties.
“I think people are kind of ready to get back to some sense of normalcy and we’re hoping with the vaccine out that more people are able to do that,” said Blasek.
Business owners say community support is helping them through difficult times during the pandemic. They encourage people to spend locally in their community.