Saturday was a day for taking it to the streets in Grand Rapids for what was billed as the largest outdoor St. Paddy’s Day party in Michigan. Check out images from the massive bash.
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The Irish of Notre Dame may have fallen a little short on the basketball court during the NCAA tournament on Saturday, but that didn’t faze most of the Irish — or those claiming to be Irish for a day — who flooded Ionia Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids for music, beer and St. Patrick’s Day revelry.
For thousands of Michiganders, St. Patrick’s Day extended deep into the weekend with 12 hours of live music and drinking during the seventh annual Irish on Ionia celebration hosted by BarFly Events.
From bagpipes and kilts to orange wigs and a sea of green costumes, it was a day of cheerful madness. Large groups of partiers hopped and skipped down Ionia for green beer, Irish car bombs and hours of high-energy music ranging from traditional Irish jig tunes to modern American EDM.
Attendee Christopher Koenigsknecht arrived at 10 a.m. to begin his first Irish on Ionia celebration. The spry, top hat-wearing Grand Rapidian was still dancing and full of energy near the festival’s close.
“Grand Rapids is a young person’s city. Meeting new people and making connections was the highlight of my day,” he said.
As night fell, Detroit Irish rockers Stone Clover and Grand Rapids’ The Waxies both gave lively, danceable performances to crowds that didn’t seem to tire out. (Other acts performing earlier in the day included Blarney Castle, Crossbow, Todd Herring, Ardan Academy of Irish Dance and Motor City Dancers, along with a host of DJs.)
The festival’s emcee, Liam the Giant Leprechaun, bid a loud farewell and DJ Richard Oxygenn spun a closing set as many folks made their way to nearby establishments to continue partying.
Oh, and several Grand Rapids Police officers agreed that most attendees stayed civil and respectful amid the rollicking festivities.
PHOTO GALLERY: Irish on Ionia 2017
Photos by Kendra Kamp
Kalamazoo celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, too, along with the arrival of Detroit’s Electric Six over the weekend.
Local Spins photographer Derek Ketchum captured the action of Belfast Gin at Arcadia Ales on Friday — the end of a busy St. Patrick’s Day for the band, which starting out at Old Dog Tavern, cruised to Battle Creek’s Griffin for the afternoon and returned to Kalamazoo to close out the night at Arcadia — where “a great crowd was on hand to enjoy their Celtic folk-rock fusion sound and celebrate the holiday in style.”
On Saturday, award-winning Austin grunge/punk band Residual Kid got things rolling at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe before Detroit’s Electric Six took the stage to get the crowd “amped from the first riff,” with singer Dick Valentine even venturing into the crowd.
Belfast Gin, Electric Six, Residual Kid photos by Derek Ketchum
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