March 17 is celebrated each year as Saint Patrick’s Day, the feast day of Ireland’s most recognized patron saint. The true history of Saint Patrick is that of a British (not Irish!) former slave turned bishop who established many Catholic churches, monasteries, and schools throughout Ireland. He’s even been credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland! And while it’s true there are no snakes in Ireland today, historical records show that there were never any snakes on the island to start with. Though the Christian holiday has been observed since the early seventeenth century, now St. Patty’s Day celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general, rather than the life of its namesake.

St. Patrick’s Day in Saint Paul

St. Paul bars, restaurants, and small businesses want to maximize the revenue they can create from the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Sales promotion and event marketing techniques are crucial for special holiday events like St. Patrick’s Day with more local business than ever using internet marketing and social media marketing techniques to draw a larger crowd.

In Saint Paul, many already spent the weekend celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday “is the perfect reminder that spring is right around the corner, and given the type of winter many Americans have had, it’s safe to say consumers are ready to shake off their winter blues with a little green,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay. And while the nation as a whole was subject to frosty forecasts this winter, Minnesotans especially deserve a holiday reminder of the lush green to come after having shared in receiving the brunt of the polar vortex.

This year’s consumer survey on St. Patrick’s Day, conducted by the National Retail Federation, shows 133 million Americans planned to celebrate the holiday this year, however St. Patrick’s Day is actually the smallest consumer spending holiday of the year with the average person spending $35.27 on green attire, decor for their home and office, and festive food and drinks. Estimates predicted total holiday spending would to grow to $4.7 billion.

While the St. Paul parade has been held at noon on March 17 each year, the St. Patrick’s Day Association is considering a proposal to officially move the holiday to the weekend as early as next year. Mayor Chris Coleman’s office says it supports moving the parade to a weekend. This proposal is backed by numerous small business owners reasoning that St. Patrick’s Day is one of St. Paul’s biggest single-day events among others like Grand Old Day and Red Bull’s Crashed Ice. The move would help not only with bringing in additional revenue; the city would have also have more flexibility to close down roads for the parade and its thousands of revelers.

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Nothing screams St. Patrick’s Day quite like transforming Downtown Chicago into the Emerald Isle. As part of a more than fifty-year-old tradition, the Chicago River is dyed green in observance of St. Patrick’s Day each year. It began in 1962 when the event was first commissioned by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. The tradition continued when the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers dyed it green at 9:30 a.m. this past Saturday as a prelude to their city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. It takes 40 pounds of environmentally safe vegetable based dye to achieve the river’s green hue, often lasting more than a day. The orange dye is dispersed through the river from a speed boat using a flour sifter and is blended into the water through the churning of the boat’s onboard motor where it mixes with the water and becomes a brilliant emerald green.

How much does it cost? There is no official answer, but based on the cost of the materials and labor, some have estimated that the tradition costs about $133 per minute. The operation is privately funded, and underwritten by sponsors including the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade itself and a local radio station.

Nobody understands the serious amount of planning that goes into creating memorable St. Patrick’s Day festivities quite like sponsors the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers of Local Union 130 U.A. The organization is responsible for fundraising throughout the year to generate awareness for the Chicago events and pride in Irish ancestry within their community. Twin Cities nonprofit organizations can look to the Journeymen Plumbers as an example of success in their ability to raise, manage and align their funds with resources while understanding the needs of their constituents.

Whether you’re a business owner or a parade reveler, the University of St. ThomasExecutive Education has the professional development opportunity to help you bridge the gap between what you know and where you want to be in your career. Get recognized for being a leader in your field and make your coworkers green with envy by pursuing professional training in fields including nonprofit management, marketing, and operations.