Michiana celebrates St. Patrick's Day

South Bend celebrated St. Patrick's Day Saturday with the annual parade and dyeing of the St. Joseph River.

The parade kicked off Saturday at 11 a.m. near the intersection of Jefferson Blvd. and Eddy Street.

Families were decked out in their St. Patrick's Day garb as they watched the floats and bands pass by.

The Greening of the East Race was held immediately following the parade.

The Villa Macri tent party welcomed close to two thousand guests with music from three local bands: Alligator Blackbird, Viagra Falls and Blammo.

"I've been doing this 34 years and I think a lot of that is because the word irish has a soft spot here in a town," said Villa Macri Owner Jerry Macri. "So I think Notre Dame is a big part of why we really want to celebrate green."

Organizers enlisted the help of St. Joseph County and Mishwaka Police as well as hired security guards to maintain the crowds.

"They're pretty smart and responsible here," said Macri. "If they're going to drink more than they feel that they can drive, they'll have someone else driving. The last thing we want to see is someone go overboard and drink too much and ruin it for [future] events."

In an effort to keep the roads safe this weekend, the St. Joseph County Traffic Safety Partnership announced sobriety checkpoints for March 14th, 15th and 17th.

The checkpoints operate from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on all three nights and are there detect impaired drivers and increase seat belt safety awareness.

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