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St. Patrick's Day! A look at festivities happening in Minnesota

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It's March 17 – a day to celebrate a a British nobleman born about 1,600 years ago who was kidnapped by Irish pirates as a teenager, escaped the country later, then returned as a missionary

Or, in short: It's St. Patrick's Day. (And if you want more on the day's history, check out USA Today's rundown, which explains the whole pirate kidnapping thing.)

And St. Paddy's Day means celebrations – including two big parades in the Twin Cities, another long-running on in New Ulm, and other festivities. Here's a quick look at some of the stuff happening Thursday.


St. Paul'sannual St. Patrick’s Day parade is at noon, and caps off a week of celebratory Irish events.

Sponsored by the St. Patrick's Association since 1967, the parade will travel down 5th Street, from Wacouta Avenue west to Rice Park. Here's the map:

Minneapolis is holding it’s parade on at 7:30 p.m. The parade route starts at Marquette AVenue and 11th Street, and heads north to 5th Street. For more information on that click here.

And in both cities, Metro Transit is offering free rides on buses and trains from 6 p.m. through 3 a.m. – check out their site for details.

New Ulm touts its parade as the longest consecutive in the state – it'll ring in its 51st year today, the city's Irish Cultural Society, with the parade starting at 5 p.m.

And in Bemidji, celebrate the Irish with the "World's Shortest Parade" – it'll go from one pub on Beltrami Avenue, across the street to another. The march starts at 4:30 p.m.

A handful of other communities – including Belle Plaine and Crosslake – held parades over the weekend.

Other celebrations

Celebrations continue in the St. Paul through the week – see a list of events here, including some bar specials that run Thursday night and into the weekend.

The Pioneer Press put together a list of its favorite Irish pubs.

And Explore Minnesota has a guide to a bunch of upcoming St. Patrick’s Day events.

St. Paul was recently ranked the 10th best place in the United States to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Minneapolis came in at No. 20 on WalletHub’s list.

Did you know?

What’s a holiday without a little trivia? Here are some facts about the Irish in Minnesota and the United States:

Roughly 33.1 million Americans – that’s 10.4 percent of the population – claimed Irish ancestry in 2014, the Census Bureau says. (That’s more than seven times the population of Ireland.)

In Minnesota, roughly 566,000 people claim Irish ancestry, the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey shows, with roughly 389,738 people in the Twin Cities claiming Irish ancestry.

KilKenny, Minnesota, which has a population of 416, is the town with the most Irish heritage – 47 percent claim Irish ancestry, WCCO said. Kilkenny, located in LeSueur County, was settled in the 1850s by Irish immigrants. The town is named after the city (and county) in Ireland, which is its sister city.

Minnesota has several other towns named after Ireland. Clover Township in Clearwater County is among several Clover-named places in the United States. Shamrock Township in Aitkin County is one of six places in the country with that name, the Census Bureau notes.

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Law enforcement on alert for weekend St. Patrick's Day

It's a lucky occurrence for revelers when St. Patrick's Day lands on a Saturday. Unless someone tries to drive home after having one too many. Law enforcement officials all over the state are upping their patrols Saturday. The last time St. Patrick's Day and Saturday night combined there were 527 suspected drunk driving arrests. That's almost twice the number on a typical weekend night.