Iowa’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Party is underway in Davenport, Iowa through Monday and attracting participants from across the state.
Kelly’s Irish Pub at 2222 East 53rd St. in Davenport (since 2004) kicked off the St. Paddy’s Day weekend at noon on Friday, March 14th. The party continues through Monday, March 17th.The celebration resumed at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, and commences again at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 16th, in advance of the actual St. Patrick’s Day (Monday, March 17th). It follows the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which began in Rock Island, Illinois and crossed the Centennial Bridge into Davenport, Iowa, the only bi-state St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the United States.
In addition to live music, the Skydiving Leprechauns are a draw for the celebration. The 25 trained skydivers jump from 5,000 feet dressed as leprechauns, aiming for the 2 parking lots which measure 9,000 square feet and contain a 29-foot tall tent with 50 servers ready to serve beer or home-brewed whiskey and vodka from the LeClaire (IA) Mississippi River Distillery.. The event is expected to draw up to 20,000 people to heated tents through March 17th, up from 15,000 last year. In addition to live music, the party encompasses a magician, a juggler, Irish dancers, bagpipers and, of course, green beer.
Within a 24-hour span, 2,000 pounds of slow-cooked corned beef and cabbage is prepared (along with roasted red potatoes) and 200 kegs of green beer are cooked and ready to be consumed. There is a juggling unicyclist (Dean Franzen), the Mulane Healy O’Brien Irish Dancers and various bands perform.
The band performing in the photos taken on Saturday, March 15th, is Liz and the Belly Swirls, which contains 2 members of the Kelly family, Leo and Bob Kelly on lead and bass guitar(s). Liz Treiber is the lead vocalist and the drummer is Greg Hipskind. Liz and the Belly Swirls are a local band that has been performing throughout the area for 15 years.