250,000 expected at Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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DENVER -- Expect a huge infusion of green Saturday into downtown Denver.

The city is expecting a quarter of a million people to make it to the Denver St. Patrick's Day parade.

And as you might guess, the large crowd could present some challenges.

There will be less parking because of construction. Drivers will face street closures.

And the parade lasts much of the morning and afternoon.

The bagpipes were blowing, along with cigar smoke at Cigars On 6th. Friday.

"We get together and celebrate and that's what life's about to celebrate. Every day. You don't get 'em back," says Irishman Kevin Fitzgerald, who led the band of bagpipers into the store.

"Everybody is Irish on St Patty's Day," says Brandon Foster, a German celebrating the Irish holiday downtown.

Irish eyes also smiling at Fado Irish Pub, which opens bright and early at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Most Lodo bars are opening hours earlier than usual.

"People come down early to celebrate the parade and everything. So we open our doors early for them," says Claire Sheehan of Fado.

Icy alcoholic drinks waiting for them.

"Kicking off the day at 7 a.m. really shows your dedication to the day," says Gabe Stokes, partying at Fado.

They'll stand along Blake St. As the second-largest St. Patty’s Day parade in the country rolls, marches, and dances through for its 50th year.

"You need to get there early. The parade starts at 10 a.m. Typically we have people line streets about 8 a.m.," says parade marshal Rich Caldwell.

Caldwell also says construction at Union Station has taken out about 150 parking spaces. So beware.

"Those are favored spots. Those are closed now," he says.

He says the best place for families are the ends of the parade route--at Broadway and Blake and 17th St. And Wazee (Tooley).

For those looking for more shamrockin' revelry, the main stretch on Blake is best.

"It'll be just one solid party," says Caldwell.

The parade marshal says 10,000 people will be in the parade--about 240 entries.

The parade starts at Coors Field parking lot, to 27th St. and Blake, then Blake west to 17th St., 17th St. to Wynkoop, then Wynkoop back to Coors Field.

It will be a warm day, so bring lots of water, sunscreen, and dress in layers.