Irish on Ionia returning to GR ‘bigger than ever’

(March 19, 2016)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Traffic will be replaced with revelers Saturday as Irish on Ionia returns to downtown Grand Rapids.

This is the seventh year for the celebration, which is billed as the largest St. Patrick’s Day street party in the state.

The festivities will cover two city blocks, from Oakes to Fulton streets and Weston Street SW to Commerce Avenue SW.

The first 200 people in line will get free breakfast as part of Kegs and Eggs at the Waldron. Early birds will also get mugs to hold more beer, according to organizer Chris Knape of Barfly Ventures.

Knape says this year will be bigger than ever, but revelers shouldn’t worry about problems with long lines.

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“We’re going to have people roaming the area selling drink tickets. One of the big snafus in years past was the lines for the drink tickets, so we actually have roving ticket sellers with credit card readers, we’re going to be able to make those lines go a lot smoother this year,” he explained.

Revelers can avoid the elements in heated tents that will be set up downtown.

Liam the giant leprechaun will again emcee Irish on Ionia, which include Irish dancing, live music and bag pipers.

“It’s an experience, it’s a festival atmosphere. We really want people to come down and enjoy themselves, pace themselves, it’s a long day, and be responsible about it. We’re going to have Uber there on site and make sure everybody gets home, nice and safe.”

General admission to Irish on Ionia is $20; VIP tickets are $60 and include all-day re-entry, a t-shirt, beer mug and gloves. A dollar from every VIP ticket sold will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids’ Camp O’ Malley.

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Irish on Ionia