Irish traditions strong in Valley St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

If you plan on partying Thursday to celebrate the day, police are warning drivers not to drink

St. Patrick's Day festivities get underway early in the Youngstown, Ohio area on Thursday.

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – St. Patrick’s Day started started early Thursday for a number of local bars in the area.

O’Donold’s Irish Pub and Grille opened at 5:30 a.m. for the festivities, at both its Austintown and downtown Youngstown locations. The bar served an Irish breakfast of corned beef and green beer, with entertainment by bagpipers, singers and step dancers throughout the day and into the night.

The Austintown location also held a prayer service at 7 a.m.

Sandy Reda owns the Magic Tree Pub and Eatery in Boardman with her husband Phill. She said people have been coming in since 8 a.m., and they don’t show signs of stopping.

“The atmosphere has been wonderful. We had people at the door as soon as we opened,” she said. “People have been filtering through all day eating, listening to live music.”

The large crowd is a boost for business, and the bar is taking advantage. It had an all-day auction for Fostering Dreams, a charity that hosts activities for foster children.

Another big St. Patrick’s Day event is just over the Pennsylvania border in Sharon, at the original Quaker Steak and Lube. The restaurant has been holding its annual St. Patrick’s Day party for the past 42 years.

Doors opened at 6 a.m. for green eggs and ham, and the green beer starts flowing an hour later.

Other Irish food will be offered all day, along with a full day of festive music and live entertainment.

If you plan on partying Thursday to celebrate the day, police are warning drivers not to drink.

With the Carrie Underwood concert at the Covelli Centre as well on Thursday, Youngstown Police will be out in full force, with foot and saturation patrols.

Both the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Canfield, along with the Boardman Police Department, are planning extra patrols Thursday night and throughout the holiday weekend. Federal funding will help pay for the overtime.

Boardman Police said St. Patrick’s Day is one of the nation’s deadliest holidays, with a dramatic spike in drunk-driving crashes and fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 266 people have been killed nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2010 to 2014.

Highway Patrol said it is best to have a designated driver before going out for the day, either a friend or by calling a taxi or DD4Hire. If you see a suspected drunk driver, police recommend calling 911.

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