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Party On, St. Pat!

Pub crawl in Petoskey & TC highlight a weekend of Irish celebrations

Rick Coates - March 11th, 2013  

For the past 34 years Traverse City has hosted the annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl attracting not only locals but visitors from as far away as Petoskey. Now residents of Petoskey will have their own Pub Crawl this Friday, March 15 starting at 4 pm at Beards Brewery.

“I started discussing the idea with some of the bars and restaurants in Petoskey and they loved the idea,” said Charlie Ferguson, general manager of Northern Broadcasting. “We spoke to Bayside Beverage and they asked Guinness to get involved, so we have the Guinness Girls coming and passing out all sorts of goodies along the way.”

Pub crawls began 150 years ago in Europe. Originally called gin or beer crawls, they made their way to the U.S. 100 years ago in major cities such as New York, Boston and Chicago, typically around St. Patrick’s Day.

A typical pub crawl has participants spending about an hour at each location and often they are led by a bagpiper who begins playing when it is time to head to the next pub. Last St. Patrick’s Day in Charlotte, North Carolina they set the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest pub crawl with 15,000 participants-- roughly 6,000 more than the previous year.

Petoskey isn’t expecting 15,000, but organizers do anticipate a lot of enthusiasm.

“Ireland is known for its beer and we expect to have our Red Myst an Irish Red Ale ready to be tapped to celebrate. We may also have our Milk Stout available,” said Peter Manthei of Beards Brewery. “This is going to be great for downtown and we are going to have a special Pub Crawl Irish Toast at 4:30 pm to officially kick off this event.”


Manthei’s enthusiasm is shared by other downtown Petoskey Pub Crawl stops.

“We are excited to be a part of the inaugural Petoskey Pub Crawl to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend,” said Mike Zagaroli, bar manager at City Park Grill. “We also have a great weekend of music planned with Peter Kehoe and the original Mac Daddies on Friday night and then the Ragbirds on Saturday night.”

While no one is exactly sure what to expect in the first year, organizers say there will be some cool surprises along the way.

“We are sweetening the pot and will be giving away a pair of tickets to the sold out Bob Seger and Joe Walsh concert in Detroit for the April 13 show, compliments of WKLT-FM,” said Charlie Ferguson. “We will register people at Beards, then City Park and finally at the Noggin Room in the Perry Hotel. We will draw one contestant from each of those places and three finalists will be in the final drawing at Noggin Room around 10 pm and will walk out of there with Seger tickets.”

The Petoskey Pub Crawl takes place Friday, March 15 starting at 4 pm at Beard’s Brewery then heads to Mitchell Street Pub at 5 pm then at 6 pm to Leo’s before heading to City Park Grill at 7 pm. From there pub crawlers head to Papa Lou’s then to the Palette Bistro at 9 m before wrapping up at the Noggin Room inside the Perry Hotel at 10 pm where Scott Stillings will be performing.

For more information on the Petoskey Pub Crawl go to (Rick Coates is an announcer on Omelette & Friends on WKLT weekday mornings.)

Robert Emmet Annual “Hooile”

The Robert Emmet Society in partnership with the Blissfest Music Organization presents their annual Robert Emmet Hoolie, a highlight of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Little Traverse Area. The event features Irish music, song and dance, door prizes and Irish dinner fare.

Reduced admission prices are offered to Irish citizens, NCMC students, seniors, and members of the Blissfest Music Organization and the Robert Emmet Society.

The 2013 Annual “Hoolie” takes place Saturday, March 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 the Perry Hotel. Proceeds from the event will help the Robert Emmet Society to send an NCMC student to Ireland to study for a semester. For more information go to

Traverse City Pub Crawl

Traverse City will host their 34th Annual Pub Crawl starting at noon on Friday, March 15. Originally started by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the organization turned it over to the local pubs 15 years ago. The Traverse City Pub Crawl attracts several hundred participants with local beer wholesalers handing out free Irish swag.

The TC Pub Crawl starts at Minerva’s (Park Place) and then heads to Bubba’s at 2 pm, U&I at 3 pm , Union Street Station at 4 pm, Bootleggers & Dillinger’s Pub from 5 to 7 pm, Brady’s at 7 pm, the Blue Tractor at 8 pm, Firefly at 9 pm, and then wrapping up at the State Street Grill at 10 pm.

Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K!

The Third Annual Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K! takes place Saturday, March 16 at 9am in the Warehouse District of downtown Traverse City. Racers and walkers will receive a commemorative shirt along with medals for top finishers and Best Irish Costume. Plus a complimentary beverage (beer for those 21 years of age and older).

5K Run - awards ceremony will be held for Overall and Masters Male/Female in the 5K Run and top three age divisions. The 5K Walk is participatory, no awards will be presented. Medals will be available at the finish line until 11:00 a.m. and thereafter at the National Cherry Festival Office at 250 Front Street, Ste 301, Traverse City, MI 49684.

The 34th Annual Ancient Order of Hibernians and Irish Queens Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday March 15 from 1:30 to 2:30 pm in Downtown Traverse City. The parade always takes place on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.

“This has become a Traverse City tradition,” said Todd McCall, a member of the Hibernians and one of the parade organizers. “We continue to see more and more participation every year and more people coming downtown lining the streets. It has been great in recent years because Party Giant in Traverse City has been handing out free Irish flags and beads along the parade route.”

McCall and other Hibernians have put out the call for others to join in the fun.

“I have decided to build a float this year,” said John O’Brien of Celtic Shuttle. “The Irish Queens are going to help decorate the float and we will have Irish musicians including the Danny Boy competition finalists and a bagpiper.”

McCall hopes others will join in as well.

“We want more floats and participation, there is no charge. I just ask that you call me in advance so we are expecting you.”

The pre-parade activities take place at North Peak Brewing Company starting around 11:30. At noon the Grand Marshall is announced and this year’s Grand Marshall is artist Charlie Murphy. Also the Irish Queen is crowned and the Lord Mayor is announced (selected by secret vote and announced that day). Plus the Hibernian of the year and the Prince and Princess are all announced (also a well guarded secret). All Irish royalty ride in convertibles compliments of Traverse Motors.

The parade starts lining up on Hall Street at 1 pm and Parade Marshall Michael Nolan in his 34 year of overseeing the parade will see it off at 1:30. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade makes its way through town heading down Front Street to Pine Street to State Street to Park Street and through downtown on Front Street back to North Peak and Kilkenny’s where the Wild Sully’s will perform Irish classics.

Leprechaun’s Ball & Absolutely Irish Teleganza

The 8th Annual Lucky Leprechaun Ball takes place Sunday, March 10 at Kilkenny’s starting at 3 pm. Featured will be Song of the Lakes celebrating their 30th anniversary, and the finals in a “Danny Boy” singing contest with $1,500 in prizes. General admission is $17.50 in advance and $20 at the door. (See last week’s article in the Express for full details,

For a complete list of Irish happenings in the region go to or to participate in the parade contact Todd McCall at 231-709-6500

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