The streets will be swarming with people dressed as leprechauns Saturday evening for the 15th annual St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl in downtown Roseburg.
The tradition started when a group of friends got together on St. Patrick’s Day to see how many pubs they could visit during the night’s celebration. The group had such a good time they decided to make it an annual event that now benefits the Taylor/Hatfield Memorial Youth Fund.
This year’s celebration has grown to 14 bars, pubs and taverns. The establishments will open their doors to “crawlers” who will wander around downtown. New this year, the crawl will feature a food court on Oak Aveneu between Main and Jackson streets.
A portion of all sales of T-shirts, commemorative mugs, food and beverages will go toward the fund, which supports events for children with disabilities in the county. The proceeds will go to the YMCA Partners Sports Camp and Bowman’s Pond in Ollala, a handicapped accessible fishing hole.
Pub Crawl coordinator B.J. Webster said establishments will serve a variety of food, ranging from barbecue to oysters.
“If people are drinking, then they need to eat too,” she said.
She estimated 2,000 people flooded downtown for the event last year and said she expected a similar turnout this year.
Last year the night raised approximately $12,000, she said.
McMenamins will host a pre-function event in its parking lot starting at 4 p.m. Awards will be presented for the best leprechaun contest, the best limerick and to the woman with the best modification and modeling of the pub crawl T-shirt.
Although this will be McMenamins’ sixth year participating in the crawl, this is the first year the pub will have a beer garden, McMenamins manager Kara Hesseltine said.
“Some of the participating employees are dressing up and everybody is really excited about the beer garden this year,” she said.
The crawl proper starts at 6 p.m. with people walking from pub to pub. Webster said if they can get a speaker fixed in time, Irish music will fill the streets from the corner of Jackson Street and Oak Avenue.
“You get to see people sashaying and dancing down the streets,” she said. “I’ve seen some crazy costumes over the last few years.”
Webster asked people to drink responsibly.
Country band Aces Wild will play at a dance from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 749 S.E. Jackson St. There will be a $2 cover.
Little Brothers Pub owner Sharon Shearer, who serves corned beef and cabbage for the occasion, has participated in the event since its inception. She said this and the Graffiti Weekend nights in July are her two busiest nights of the year. Most people do not stay for long at the pub, but move from location to location quickly, she said.
“You get a lot of new people that you haven’t seen before. It’s just a good thing to help promote downtown,” she said.
Each site paid a fee to be included in the crawl and donates 25 cents per beverage to the youth fund, Shearer said.
O’Toole’s co-owner Jennifer O’Toole said she is excited to participate in her first pub crawl.
“We’ve only been open for a month, so I’m excited to get the word out that we’re open and what we have to offer. And to support the good cause,” she said. “Supporting local agencies is important to us.”
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.