GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Billed as Michigan’s largest St. Patrick’s Day street party, Irish on Ionia will return to Grand Rapids Saturday after a three-year hiatus.
“We’ve brought the band back together,” Shane Philipsen, the creator of Irish on Ionia, said Monday.
Ionia Avenue will be roped off between Fulton and Oakes streets Saturday, with the 12-hour ticketed event beginning at 10 a.m.
Philipsen said ticket sales continue to track similar to previous years and organizers expect nearly 15,000 people to attend.
“Not only do we have entertainment on both stages, people are performing through the streets,” he said. “You can’t miss them. They’re on stilts, they’re juggling, they’re doing different acts.”
Guinness is back as the title sponsor. More nonalcoholic beverage options will be offered than in years past.
“We also always promote responsibility so we will have our Guinness 0 this year at Irish on Ionia,” Carlos Vega, a sales specialist of the beer company. “That is brewed as Guinness to start and then through filtration, they take the alcohol out.”
The 2020 event was meant to be the festival’s 10th anniversary, but COVID-19 forced organizers to cancel just three days before the celebration.
“That is the No. 1 phone call or email that our office received with the city of Grand Rapids: When is Irish on Ionia returning?” said Evette Pittman, a special events manager with the city. “Folks are so excited for this event. It’s just an opportunity for people of all ages, 21 and up, to get together and celebrate Irish culture.”