While folklore holds tales of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, the day named after the emerald isle's patron saint historically drives people out of their homes and out to their local bars and restaurants.
Whether they are celebrating Irish heritage or celebrating to celebrate, local Cape Coral establishments are hoping patrons will be out in large numbers Tuesday for St. Patrick's Day as the battered economy continues to bite.
“(Traditionally St. Patrick's Day week) is a great week for us,” said Stevie Tomato's Sports Page general manager Jay Cannon. “There's March Madness ( the NCAA basketball tournament), the Sox and the Twins are in town for Spring Training, then there's St. Patrick's Day. This is our best month.”
Cannon said they would be holding a “Beer Olympics,” with events like “Beer Pong” and “Flip the Cup” Tuesday. He said they will also have specials on Guinness and will have a $10.99 corned beef and cabbage dinner.
But why limit St. Patrick's Day to a one-day celebration?
Houlihan's, which is located on Cape Coral Parkway, will start its St. Patrick's Day celebration Saturday and will run through Tuesday.
General manager Nicole Risch said St. Patrick's Day is up there with Valentine's Day for their biggest day of the year.
“We're hoping for a couple thousand to attend,” she said.
Risch said they're bringing in live music on Saturday and Tuesday and will hold drink and food specials for the four-day event. She said there will be an Irish pet costume contest, raffles, games, food and drink specials, and of course, green beer on Tuesday.
Risch said with the closing of Bennigan's, which for years had one of the largest, if not the largest, St. Patrick's Day celebrations, she feels this could be their biggest year yet. Despite the economy.
Sean Lucas, co-owner of The Joint in Cape Harbour, said they're expecting a big night as well.
He said they will have live music from 6 to 10 p.m. and will have food and drink specials, including corned beef sliders. He said they will also bring in Guinness on tap, which they don't usually supply.
“Tuesday is a big night for us normally,” he said.
He said they are expecting 250 to 300 people.
“(The Joint) is always looking for any excuse to throw a party,” he said. “And in this economy, we have to take advantage of the opportunities we are given to do so.”
Leapin' Lizard manager Brandi Clemons said days like St. Patrick Day are welcomed with open arms.
“They help bring in more people, which brings in more revenue,” Clemons said. “They help the economy and they help the people who get an opportunity to get out and have a great time.”
Leapin' Lizard, which is located near the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge, is holding an all-day “block party” Tuesday.
Clemons said they will have two bands, A200 and Deb & the Dynamics, play throughout the day, will bring in two beer trucks and will party in the restaurant, on the patio and in the parking lot.
“We've had St. Patty's parties before, but this will be bigger,” she said.
If last weekend's fifth annual Irish Festival is any indication, she will probably be right.
More than 5,500 attended the two-day event held by the Irish-American Club of Cape Coral.
According to club figures, this year's event broke the festival's previous attendance record by over 2,100 attendees.