Thousands paint the town green

Jon Sparling, left, Chris Galos and Michael McKinnon attend Mick's Irish Pub in downtown Windsor to celebrate St. Patrick's Day Saturday, March 17, 2012.

It wasn’t the luck of the Irish that had Jon Sparling with a table at one of the busiest pubs in Windsor on St. Patrick’s Day Saturday. It was a plan he and his friends had employed to guarantee it.

At 9 a.m., two hours before Mick’s Irish Pub opened for the day, Sparling and six close friends lined up outside the front doors and awaited the official start to the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

To pass time, the group planned ahead. They brought a grill and cooked bacon, sausage and eggs and ate it together out on the street.

It has become a tradition over the past few years that Sparling – a regular customer at Mick’s – turn on the ‘open’ sign at the beginning of each St. Patrick’s Day and turn it off at the end when they are ready to close.

Within 15 minutes of opening at 11 a.m. Saturday, the downtown pub was packed to capacity said co-owner Nichole Demers. A line-up of dozens continued throughout the day and night, with green-clad partygoers itching to get in. She said this was the busiest she has ever seen it.

Down the street was the tent party that took over the old bus depot and had over 3,000 people attend.

Across the city at another popular pub, O’Maggio’s Kildare House set up a tent in its parking lot to accommodate the nearly 2,000 people it attracted.

Owner Vito Maggio said the name of his establishment rooted from a St. Patrick’s Day celebration he took part in over a decade ago.

He wore a hat that he had written O’Maggio across the front of in a way to become Irish for the day. The name stuck with him and became the name of the pub he now owns and is one of the most popular spots for Windsorites to flock to on the yearly ode to the emerald isle.



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