St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in Windsor after two-year hiatus

Windsor-Essex bar owners, singers, dancers and party goers are welcoming back St. Patrick's Day in 2022, after a two-year hiatus.  (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)

Windsor-Essex bar owners, singers, dancers and party goers are welcoming back St. Patrick’s Day in 2022, after a two-year hiatus. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC – image credit)

After a two-year hiatus, Windsor is welcoming a more normal St. Patrick’s Day this year.

The owners of Craftheads Brewery — known for their local brew collaborations — said they’re excited to welcome back customers.

They’re also taking the opportunity to raise money for Ukraine, as Russia continues its invasion of the county. The brewery will donate a portion of beer sales to the Windsor branch of the Ukrainian National Federation.

Brewer Jason Barsotta said the idea came after they saw a social media post of a brewery in Ukraine that had switched production to make Molotov cocktails

“We saw that and it really hit home. Brewers, if you talk to them, were all pretty nice and peaceful by nature, pretty easy going, to see they had to switch to make Molotov cocktails it was kind of difficult for us,” said Barsotta.

“So we thought we had to do something to help out and do what we can.”

Any proceeds from pints sold between 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. will be donated.

Darrin Di Carlo/CBC

Darrin Di Carlo/CBC

As bars and restaurants enjoy the big day, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reminding people to stay safe by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask if they can’t social distance and staying home if they’re feeling sick.

“I think like every holiday, in the context of the pandemic, we have to use good judgment,” said acting medical officer of health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai.

“Overall our message to people is enjoy St. Patrick’s Day but do so in a way that’s responsible and consistent with public health guidance.

Nesathurai also people should also reference low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines to keep themselves safe while enjoying alcohol.

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

Sounds of St. Pat’s

Windsor Band Tartan Army has been performing in Windsor-Essex on St. Patrick’s Day since 1988, and the group had just celebrated 20-straight years of performances before the pandemic hit in 2018.

Today, they’re hitting the stage after the two-year hiatus.

“This year will be different because we’re old,” laughed band member Alan Ferguson, on CBC’s Windsor Morning Thursday ahead of his show.

The band will hit the stage at Windsor Eat’s new space at 400 Erie Street East from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today. The outdoor, all ages event will offer live music, beer and wine, and tacos for sale.

Sanjay Maru/CBC

Sanjay Maru/CBC

The band had the opportunity to practice ahead of today, playing at Chapter Two Brewing Company last week while raising money to go toward Ukraine.

“We’ve missed the people, we missed each other, we didn’t have any practice time in that two-year window.” said Ferguson.

“We’re really confident that today’s show will be one of our best ever.”

Dancers set to hit the stage

St. Patrick’s Day is also a busy one for a local troupe of Windsor dancers. They are members of the Emerald Isle Dance Society and they’ll be performing all over Windsor-Essex today.

“It’s one of our biggest fundraising days,” said Carina Evon, the society’s president.

Evon’s 15-year-old daughter Elizabeth is one of their premiere dancers.

“We’re dancing all over,” said Elizabeth, of the seven shows she and her troupe will perform Thursday.

“Very very busy, a little less so this year because of obviously more restrictions meant that less places were available … still plenty busy and I’m really excited for it.”

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