BILLINGS - A year ago on St. Patrick's Day, COVID-19 forced the shutdown local bars and restaurants.
This year, the excitement, energy, and tradition are back.
The owner of Hooligan's Irish Sports Pub said Wednesday was a good day for celebrating.
"We have pasties," said Sean Graves, owner of Hooigan's and the Montana Brewing Company. "We have Irish stew. We've already sold 150 orders of corned beef and cabbage today. So that's incredible. You know we're just excited to be back to normal. Last year we had to close for six weeks, the day before St Patrick's Day, due to COVID-19 so today we just look at it as a rebirth for all our businesses and a rebirth for our community to get back to normal, and experience life again."
And Graves said the excitement is about more than the holiday.
"People are just really thrilled to be out celebrating and excited," he said. "Once again, just feel like they're at peace and things are going back to normal."
"St. Patrick's Day, you know, it's always a great holiday we always have," Graves said. "The thing we missed this year was the parade. So now we're going two years without the parade which is a big time bummer because that's one of my favorite events. But yeah, you know, it's just little things, I think it's being out with people again, feeling comfortable to be out again. Just enjoying life and all the hard work that people do every day that I take a little time to celebrate."
The Billings Caledonian Pipes and Drums Band was scheduled to make appearances at Hooligan's and several other places.
Graves said things will be completely back to normal on Friday, when the NCAA men's basketball tournament starts.