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Maine bars, restaurants busy as St. Patrick's Day, March Madness coincide

Bars and restaurants across Portland gear up for busy days as Mainers flock to celebrate St. Paddy's Day and watch their brackets get busted.

PORTLAND, Maine — Thousands of people flocked to Portland on Friday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. 

It is typically a very busy day for restaurants and bars in Maine's largest city. However, it's bringing out even more people to local pubs and eateries this year, as the day coincides with the second day of March Madness. 

"Certainly with March Madness, we'll be broadcasting that on our screen. St Paddy's Day brings it to a new level," Larry Constantin, owner of Rigby Yard, said.

Rigby Yard is a coffee bar by day and a cocktail bar by night. Constantin said they're ready to keep the festivities exciting throughout with Irish specialties like corned beef sliders and green mint matcha cocktails. 

"People are on the streets again. That's a good sign. The snow is off the roads. That's also a positive sign. So we're ready to get back to full stride," Constantin said. 

Get ready to put on your best green outfit and choose between Guinness or green beer (why not both?) because St. Patrick...

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At Ri Ra in Portland, the doors opened this morning just after sunrise, following the pub's annual Paddy's Day Plunge to raise money for Portland Firefighters Children's Burn Foundation.

"Today's a big day with a lot of games, so you've got that chaos going on top of St. Paddy's Day. And then it's also a Friday, so we still have tomorrow and Sunday as well," Spencer Brantley, general manager of Ri Ra's, said.

Brantley expects business to stay busy through most of the weekend. He said aside from some busy weekends in July and August during peak tourism season, St. Patrick's is normally one of the next busiest weekends. 

This is also the first time since the pandemic began that Ri Ra's has been able to host a larger celebration like they did in previous years.

"It feels like pre-pandemic for the first time, which is nice, so we're excited," Brantley said. 

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