Iowa’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Party is underway in Davenport, Iowa through Monday and drawing participants from across the state.
Kelly’s Irish Pub at 2222 East 53rd St. in Davenport (since 2004) kicked off the St. Paddy’s day weekend at noon on Friday, March 14th. The party continues through Monday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. The celebration resumed at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, and will start again at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 16th, in advance of the actual St. Patrick’s Day (Monday, March 17th).
In addition to live music, the Skydiving Leprechauns are a draw for the celebration. The 25 trained skydivers jump from 5,000 feet dressed as leprechauns, aiming for the 2 parking lots which measure 9,000 square feet and contain a 29-foot tall tent with 50 servers ready to serve beer or home-brewe whiskey and vodka from the LeClaire, Iowa Mississippi River Distillery.
The event is expected to draw up to 20,000 people to heated tents through March 17th, up from 15,000 last year. In addition to live music, the party encompasses a magician, a juggling unicyclist (Dean Franzen),Mulane Healy O’Brien Irish dancers, and, of course, green beer.
Within a 24-hour span, 2,000 pounds of slow-cooked corned beef and cabbage is prepared (along with roasted red potatoes) and 200 kegs of green beer are prepared and ready to be consumed. The band performing in the photos taken on Saturday, March 15th, Liz and the Belly Swirls, contains 2 members of the Kelly family, Leo and Bob Kelly on lead and bass guitar. Liz Treiber is the lead vocalist; the drummer is Greg Hipskind. Liz and the Belly Swirls are a local band that has been performing throughout the area for 15 years.