HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Even though St. Patrick’s Day isn't until Sunday, the festivities in Holyoke officially kick off Thursday night.
St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrations always kick-off officially on the Friday of the road race and parade weekend, but this year, because the holiday falls on a Sunday, bars decided to kick things off a day early so everyone can celebrate.
With the final shamrocks painted on the streets of Holyoke lining the parade and road race routes, it's now officially acceptable to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
"We're doing entertainment tonight, which we haven't done in the past. Because of where St. Patrick’s Day falls, it’s a little bit of a shorter week, so by doing things tonight, it will help the bottom line," said Patrick Brennan, co-owner of Brennan's Place.
This weekend alone brings in a significant amount of business for the local bars downtown. Tens of thousands of people flock to the Paper City wearing green, ready to celebrate their Irish heritage.
"It pays a lot of bills, I'm not going to lie. I'd say 10 to 15 percent, depending on the year," Brennan noted.
Ten percent of their total yearly sales in just one weekend, it's huge.
Brennan told Western Mass News the money they make goes right back into the community. He has a personal investment too. His kids go to school in Holyoke and he lives in the city too.
For those businesses that are in downtown for all 12 months of the year, it’s a huge boost in sales.
"The whole downtown area, it brings awareness that you really can come down here more than just once or twice a year," Brennan explained.