St. Patrick's Day festivities start early, end late

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The revelry started early this morning across Minnesota, and won't end until the wee hours of Tuesday morning, as the Irish and Irish wannabees celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

The Star Tribune caught up with some folks who started their day at the Liffey in St. Paul. You can see what this group thinks of the notion of moving St. Paul's annual St. Patrick's Day parade to Saturdays.

Speaking of the parade, lots of people lined the streets of downtown to watch it, beginning at noon today. MPR News live-blogged the event, and posted lots of photos.

If you missed that one, and you're still in a parade mood, you can catch the Minneapolis parade at 6:30 p.m. It runs along Nicollet Mall, starting at 11th street and ending at 5th Street.

In northern Minnesota, folks in Bemidji took part in “The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.” The parade route is 78 paces from Keg n’ Cork on Beltrami Avenue to Brigid’s Cross Pub, across the street, according to the Forum News Service. The two Irish-themed pubs sponsor the event. The parade was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and end at about 5:35 p.m.

Of course, there are lots of other events planned, including many that involve drinking alcohol and listening to Irish music.

One of them is a political rally, of sorts. First Avenue is hosting a concert tonight to promote Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota, MinnPost reports. It's called St. Patrick's Day Rally for Sunday Sales and is sponsored by the MN Beer Activists. Lawmakers are debating whether to drop Minnesota's longtime ban on alcohol sales on Sundays.

Here's a list of events in St. Paul.

And here's a list for Minneapolis.

There's also a reminder from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to not drink and drive. Law enforcement agencies have stepped up their DWI patrols on what has become a pretty dangerous holiday, traffic-wise, the St. Cloud Times reports. Almost 1,500 motorists were arrested on St. Patrick’s Day over the past five years, according to the department. Last year, 375 people were arrested for drunk driving -- the most in the five-year period.

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