With pandemic, many around Kansas City try to experience St. Patrick’s Day fun in different ways

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been two years since the last St. Patrick’s Day parade in Kansas City. One of the largest parades in the country, silenced by the pandemic once again.

Even as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths drop — large gatherings are still discouraged. 

In Westport, a much smaller group of local Irish and Irish-for-a-day friends celebrated in much smaller groups.

Local Irish businesses say it’s they are okay with it, and it’s simply nice to be open.

Kelly’s Westport Inn is still a St. Pattrick’s Day hub, but a full house looks a lot different this year.

“We are full at this point. It’s kind of funny if you see what Kelly’s looks like full it’s obviously different than it used to be, but we’re just happy to have people here and celebrating,” said Kelly’s owner, Colleen Kelly.

Kelly said last year they closed at the beginning of the pandemic, right around the holiday, and while there were some difficult times, she hopes better days are coming.

“I can feel the energy rising. Even in the last few weeks. Being open until three in the morning has been great for us too. So, we’re one of the lucky ones. We really are. We’re going to make it, and stay open, and we’re so, so, so happy about that,” Kelly said.

At Browne’s Irish Marketplace people lined up to celebrate. Many grabbed lunch or a bit of Irish flair to enjoy the day.

Kerry Browne is the fourth generation owner of the longest running Irish business outside of Ireland.

“I hope for next year that we figure out every best scenario of St. Patrick’s Day and every other day of the year and we’re able to pull it off without masks, and with lots of green, and with lots of fun. The thing I miss the most is — we’re a huggy place. We normally hug our customers, and our customers are hugging each other, so next year I hope to be able to hug people again,” Browne said.

If you are looking for a fun Irish activity to do at home St. Patrick’s day evening, Browne’s is doing online trivia through their Facebook page. They say it’s a great way to connect at a distance.

Kelly’s will be open until 3 a.m. but are not accepting reservations. It’s best to bring the luck of the Irish if you decide to go.

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