By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Everyone’s Irish during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. And that worked to the advantage of city business owners.
People came from surrounding areas to participate in the annual St. Paddy’s Day Dash. Businesses in and around downtown offered discounts and specials to those who paid $2 or donated a canned food item to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.
“It’s a nice community event, and I think it’s nice to see people participating in something in the downtown area,” said Anne Massullo Sabella, co-owner of the recently opened Avalon Downtown. “I think a lot of people haven’t even ventured down here yet and don’t realize what is going on down here.”
This is the first time the business owner has had an opportunity to
participate in a downtown event.
“It’s been a little crazy, but it’s been fun,” she said.
The Lemon Grove took part in a similar event at Halloween, said co-owner Ed Moses.
“It was very successful, so we wanted to get involved again,” he said. “It brings people into downtown. We want to see the crowds coming down here, and people come here and party and see what’s going on.”
Visitors to the dash have a chance to see firsthand how safe Youngstown is and how much it has to offer, he said.
“Downtown’s been really safe,” Moses said. “There’s an excitement. You got nine bars down here. You could keep on going all night. Park your car and just keep on walking.”
That was the plan for a group from Hubbard.
“I think [the dash is] cool. Got a lot of nice bars out here,” Mel Harvey said. “Got some specials on the drinks. So I think it’s going to equal out to a good night.”
“It’s really fun,” said Shanna Harvey.
They planned to visit all 17 establishments on the dash list.
“There’s a whole bunch of new bars that I’ve never even been to that we’re going to hit,” Julie Bentley said.
They’re not strangers to downtown, however.
The Draught House is their favorite bar.
Best friends Kathleen Mace and Jeri Westover planned to visit all 17 as well.
“We’re here for the duration,” Mace, of Berlin Center, said.
Both are of Irish descent, said Westover, of Poland.
“We only go out once a year, and this is the day, to celebrate our heritage,” she added.
Both sported green clothes and shamrock-shaped jewelry, but they left their coats at home.
“We didn’t even wear coats because we thought, we’re only going to and from the bus to the bar,” Westover said.
The light rain didn’t get them down.
“It could be snowing, it wouldn’t matter,” Mace said.
The pair was happy to support downtown, as well as celebrate their heritage.
“We like to support everything down here,” Westover said.