GRAND RAPIDS, MI — St. Patrick’s Day was on Friday, but people filled the streets of downtown Grand Rapids to celebrate the state’s largest St. Paddy’s Day festival, Irish on Ionia.
“Back in 2011 was our very first,” Irish on Ionia event director Shane Philipsen told FOX 17 Saturday. , we had to cancel the event on Wednesday and the event took place on Saturday, so a three-year break. It was a long time ago.”
The gates opened at 10 a.m. and thousands poured in, ready to get some sleep.
“We were packed this afternoon…probably about 6,000 people at one time,” Philipsen added.
“I’m just celebrating my heritage today … I’m 70 percent Irish,” Kenna Kreider told FOX 17 at the festival. [have] never done anything like this before so this is my first time. I’m having a lot of fun!”
“I’ve been on every Irishman on Ionia,” Damon Byck added. “If you know you’re going to go out and, for example, drink, the key word is ‘excessively’, you need to know how you’re going to get home.”
Irish on Ionia spans three blocks in downtown Grand Rapids.
This year was the tenth celebration of the festival.