Jacksonville readies for St. Paddy's Day

Local bars, restaurants hoping for big economic boost this weekend

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More Americans than ever -- 54 percent -- say they will celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year, many plan on going to a bar or restaurant.

Local businesses are gearing up for the holiday in hopes of a big economic boost and the bagpipers are already warming up for a big weekend full of food, festivities and beer.

"We're going to pretty much do the same thing we do every year at the beach," said Paul Glaser with Fionn MacCool's. "A full day of music, food, beer. Just a lot of fun."

This is the first St. Paddy's Day for Fionn MacCool's Jacksonville Landing location, and the people there are planning to make it one to remember.

Because the holiday falls on a Saturday this year, business should be good. The party at this authentic irish pub starts at 8 a.m.

"I think with a Saturday it's just going to be all day long craziness," Glaser said.

MacCoul's is the only Irish place at the Landing, but all businesses in the area are getting involved.

"We're expecting some out of town guests, some locals," Blakely Ainsworth with The Landing said. "It's the first time in five years that we've done fireworks on St. Patrick's day so it's huge."

So besides the music and fun all day long, everyone is in store for a special free fireworks show on the Riverfront at 10 p.m. Saturday.

"Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day," Ainsworth said. "Live it up and fit right in with the crowd."

A few miles away, in Five Points, shopkeepers are hoping to get a big crowd there as well. They're gearing up for their annual block party.

Police are closing down Margaret Street to accommodate the crowds.

"We're doing it as big as possible," said Matthew Conlee with Larry's Giant Subs. "It's a big party. Everyone should come down to 5 points."

Many restaurants and bars will be open all day, offering up their celtic creations.

And if anyone is wondering if there is going to be enough beer around town for the celebrations, we got the answer.

"Absolutely. You can bet us on that," said Conlee. "There's going to be enough beer for everybody."

Channel 4 wants to make sure everyone is safe while they're having all that fun this weekend. There will extra taxis available at the venues to give rides and the Hyatt Riverfront is offering a special rate of just $99 a night this weekend.

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