I’ll be celebrating with more gusto this year because I was contacted by a distant relative who researched our Irish ancestors back to Kilkishen in County Clare near Shannon. I’ll be visiting next year.
The National Retail Federation forecasts that St. Patrick's spending for 2014 should increase slightly to $4.8 billion, up about 2 percent from last year.
St. Patrick's Day spending: $35.75 per person
Up about 50 cents from last year, consumers will spend money on corned beef, green clothing, and dining out including special drinks.
Young adults celebrating St. Patrick's Day: 8 out of 10
According to the federation, 77 percent of those aged 18 to 24 will be partying on the holiday. And, it predicts that 90 percent will wear something green.
Celebrants visiting restaurants and bars: More than 30 percent
Among those who will mark the holiday, 31 percent plan to go to a bar or restaurant for a St. Patrick’s Day party, the federation predicts. Slightly more, 33 percent, will prepare a special holiday-themed dinner, and 21 percent will decorate a home or office. Twenty-one percent plan to attend a private party.
Americans of Irish ancestry: More than 34 million
According to U.S. Census figures, 34.1 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry. That's more than seven times the population of Ireland itself, 4.6 million.
Boston is America's most Irish big city, with 24 percent of its residents – or more than 1.1 million – claiming Irish ancestry. Italians are second at 15 percent.
Date of the oldest St. Patrick's Parade: 1737
Boston is also home to the oldest St. Patrick's Day Parade, which took place 50 years before the U.S. Constitution was signed. It has attracted more than 800,000 parade-goers in years past, but that's almost half of the turnout expected at the world's largest St. Patrick's Day parade.
The largest parade isn’t in Dublin, Ireland. It’s in New York City. It got its start there in 1762 because Irish soldiers in the British army wanted to stage a celebration. The New York parade attracts about 2 million attendees, is almost six hours long, and winds past St. Patrick's Cathedral, which will receive about 5.5 million visitors during the holiday.
Total beer tab: $255 Million
When IbisWorld complied St. Paddy's beer consumption statistics in 2012, it forecast that brewers would make $245 million. Since then, they've forecast annual growth for U.S. breweries at 2.1 percent, so an estimate for 2014 beer sales for St. Patrick’s Day could be $255 million.
Estimates for the amount of green beer that will be sloshed down are harder to come by, but here’s a simple recipe for green beer.
Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade: 98 Feet
The First Ever Eleventh Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade in Hot Springs, Ark., is long-running joke. The entire parade processional measures less than 33 yards and runs along Bridge Street, one of the world's shortest streets.
Last year's parade attracted about 30,000 people, which averages out to about 306 people per foot.
I hope you have a fun celebration on St. Patrick's Day. It brings out the Irish in all of us.