St. Patrick’s Day, Dayton March Madness, temperatures have bars, restaurants seeing green

St. Patrick’s Day, a full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament games and a warm weather forecast on Thursday all coincide with the first non-COVID restricted annual Irish celebration since 2019.

Those combinations have local bars and restaurants expecting a business windfall as a national retail group says St. Patty’s Day spending is projected to hit $5.8 billion while being celebrated by the most people in four years.

The NCAA First Four games at the University of Dayton Arena Tuesday night and tonight — when Wright State plays Bryant — should boost customer traffic ahead of Thursday’s festivities, business operators said.

Dublin Pub General Manager Tony Good said Notre Dame’s First Four game tonight will bring in the Irish faithful with ties to the school.

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“This year we’ve got some pretty huge things happening,” he said. “We’ll see (many) Notre Dame alumni. They’re talking about bringing the marching band down here and the leprechaun down here.”

The pub on the Oregon District’s east end says it hosts “Ohio’s Largest St. Patrick’s Day” celebration. The day includes closing off a section of Wayne Avenue and erecting a 1,500-person tent in anticipation of about 12,000 customers from 5:30 a.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday, Good said.

A full slate of Irish entertainment is planned, as is a mile run.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

“Make your plans as early as you can,” he said. “You should have already done it because everybody out here is already ready for an insane amount of business.”

The Oregon District “will be very busy,” but that area of Fifth Street will be open, said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

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St. Patrick’s Day celebrators this year in the U.S. are expected to climb to 54%, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s up 10 points from 2009 and 1% lower than the peak four years ago, an NRF survey found.

“I expect us to be extremely busy, almost overwhelmed. And we’re ready for it,” said Jim Dunn, co-owner of TJ Chumps restaurants in Englewood, Fairborn, Huber Heights and Miamisburg.

Flanagan’s Pub in Dayton was “extremely busy” during the girls high school basketball tournament, when Alter won a Division II title, GM Cat Marlow said. She hopes for similar business this weekend, when the Alter and Centerville boys teams seek state crowns at UD Arena.

Flanagan’s erected a tent in its parking lot off East Stewart Street for its first “full-blown St. Patty’s Day party” under co-owner Nick Keyes Jr., Marlow said.

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The turnout at last year’s COVID-restricted event, she heard, was “pretty scarce,” but Flanagan’s is looking to draw at least 2,000 customers Thursday.

The pub will have bands from 9 a.m. to midnight, nine large screen TVs, an outdoor bar, two beer trucks and outdoor food service, she said.

Flanagan’s and the Dublin Pub will share a shuttle service running between the two sites starting at 11 a.m. that day, Good said.

Parking is available west of the Oregon District near the Dayton Convention Center, Gudorf said. Another option is the Greater Dayton RTA Flyer, she added.

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Meanwhile, the Montgomery County’s Sheriff’s Office and its OVI Task Force will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint in conjunction with the St. Patrick’s Day, MCSO Media Director Christine Bevins said in an email. Details of the location were not released.

Those who are drinking are strongly encouraged to have a designated driver or other alternatives, Bevins said.

The county prosecutor’s office today is expected to announce details for the ArriveSafe program, a spokesman said.

The office has in previous years teamed with AAA to supply free cab rides home to county residents. This year the program will run from 6 a.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Sunday, Greg Flannagan said.

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Dayton area high temperatures are forecast to range from 50 to 70 degrees through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

That’s a sign that business will be strong “starting (tonight) and going all through the weekend,” Dunn said. “I think the pent-up demand is going to be out in full force.”

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker


BY THE NUMBERS

•$5.87B: Projected spending in U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day.

•12,000: Customers the Dublin Pub plans for Thursday.

•72: Hours the ArriveSafe program this week will offer free cab rides home to Montgomery County residents.

•3: Local college and high school teams in tournaments at UD Arena this week.

Sources: National Retail Federation, Dublin Pub, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

BIG WEEK OF BASKETBALL

Today

* Wright State plays NCAA men’s First Four game at UD Arena at 6:40 p.m. (other First Four game at 9:10 p.m.)

* UD plays men’s NIT game at Toledo, 7 p.m.

* UD plays women’s NCAA game vs. DePaul, 9 p.m.

Thursday

First full day of men’s NCAA Tournament, from noon to midnight

Friday

* Full day of men’s NCAA Tournament (Ohio State plays at 12:15 p.m.; Wright State plays at 7:27 if they win Wednesday)

* First full day of the women’s NCAA Tournament (UD women play at 7:30 p.m. if they win Wednesday)

* First day of the three-day state high school tournament at UD Arena (Alter plays at 5:15 p.m.)

Saturday-Sunday

NCAA men, NCAA women, NIT and boys state high school tournaments all day. Tri-Village HS plays at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, and Centerville at 8:30 p.m.

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