RIVER FALLS -- St. Patrick’s Day in River Falls will be celebrated slightly differently this year.
Led by Shooter’s Pub owner Daniel “Shooter” Suffield, local businesses are planning events for Sunday, March 15, as River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau has stepped down from long-time sponsorship and involvement.
The chamber announced their dropping from St. Patrick’s Day activities in a Jan. 16 newsletter to members.
“The board felt that of the downtown events, the chamber’s role in the St. Patrick’s Day event was the least needed as many of the bars and restaurants will already have promotions of their own,” the email newsletter read. “In addition, they felt this was a good time to make a change as St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday over the next three years and most activities will likely take place the weekend before.”
Time and resources the chamber used for the Irish holiday will be dedicated to new efforts such as planning a pub crawl-style that would encourage more participation and result in a greater economic impact than St. Patrick’s Day. This added event may be launching in February 2021.
Shooter said the chamber has done a great job building up St. Patrick's Day and he would like to see the tradition continue.
“It’s one of our top sales day for the year,” he said. “We’re just looking to continue it so it doesn’t go away. I’m just trying to do basically everything that the chamber did just so it can last, so we can continue this. I have a lot of customers with family that comes in from out of town, they get their kids involved.”
By celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday noon to 5 p.m., Shooter said they hope this will attract more families.
"Last year on the soup crawl, I had about 500 people through my door that tasted soup. It’s not just about alcohol, it’s about exposure, getting people through your doors and doing something fun, too."
While 23 local businesses will keep the potato soup crawl and medallion hunt, River Falls will not see any bed races. An obstacle course competition is in the works to replace the races.
“It’s in the progress of being tweaked. We’re not exactly sure what all the obstacles will be, but it will probably be a timed event, in teams. I think it’s something different,” Shooter said.
Participants can bring one non-perishable food item to obtain a reusable cup for drinks. Regular purchase of cups are $3 each without the donated food item.
A Facebook event has been published and may be found by searching “St. Patrick’s Day Celebration 2020.”