DENVER — Preparations were underway Friday in downtown Denver ahead of the return of the St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday.
"We're back on our feet, and we're ready to celebrate with everybody. It's gonna be awesome," Shelley Majeres, general manager at Blake Street Tavern, said.
It'll be the first time since 2019 that bars and restaurants like Majeres' benefit from the parade's large crowds. News of a novel coronavirus spreading across the country forced organizers to cancel the 2020 parade just days before. There were only 15 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 across the state back then.
"We had the fencing, we had the band, we had everything ready. And we got the big news, and, of course, you know, the world changed," Majeres said.
The day of the parade is one of their biggest of the year, she says, next to Opening Day for the Colorado Rockies.
"From 2017, 2018, and 2019, they were all over $100,000 days," Majeres said.
During the pandemic, the future of the tavern was bleak, she says, but finally, business — and life — is taking a turn for the better.
"There was a long time where we didn't know if we'd be able to keep the doors open, and now we can all just celebrate together and I love feeding good people good food," Majeres said.
Down the street at Cherry Cricket Ballpark, general manager Samantha Taxin and her team are more than ready for the big day.
"We have live music, pipe bands, dancers, green beer," she said. "I mean, it's just everything."
They, too, suffered a big loss when the parade was canceled two years ago.
"I think we're still going through liquor from the loss of that day," Taxin said.
But with COVID numbers on a decline, that day will hopefully be just a blip in their history.
"We're all optimistic for the future, and this is kind of that change, the day of change," Taxin said.
It'll also be a day for Denver's large Irish community to get back out and celebrate.
"For us to know that we are going to be one of the largest events, if not the largest event, since COVID to really bring people back out, re-liven the city and really ensure that people know that we're back ... is just amazing," 2022 Queen Colleen Molly Casey said.
The parade kicks off 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Denver St. Patrick's Day Parade website has more information about the route of the parade, parking, etc.