Biggest St. Patrick’s Day Party in the Hawkeye State Takes Place at Kelly’s Bar & Grill in Davenport, Iowa


Green beer for sale in Kelly's tent.
Green beer for sale in Kelly’s tent.
St Patrick's Party, March 15, 2014.
St Patrick’s Party, March 15, 2014.

Iowa’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Party is underway in Davenport, Iowa through Monday and drawing participants from across the state.

Kelly’s Irish Pub at 2222 East 53rd St. in Davenport (since 2004) kicked off the St. Paddy’s day weekend at noon on Friday, March 14th. The party continues through Monday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. The celebration resumed at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, and will start again at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 16th, in advance of the actual St. Patrick’s Day (Monday, March 17th).

In addition to live music, the Skydiving Leprechauns are a draw for the celebration. The 25 trained skydivers jump from 5,000 feet dressed as leprechauns, aiming for the 2 parking lots which measure 9,000 square feet and contain a 29-foot tall tent with 50 servers ready to serve beer or home-brewe whiskey and vodka from the LeClaire, Iowa Mississippi River Distillery.

The event is expected to draw up to 20,000 people to heated tents through March 17th, up from 15,000 last year. In addition to live music, the party encompasses a magician, a juggling unicyclist (Dean Franzen),Mulane Healy O’Brien Irish dancers, and, of course, green beer.

Within a 24-hour span, 2,000 pounds of slow-cooked corned beef and cabbage is prepared (along with roasted red potatoes) and 200 kegs of green beer are prepared and ready to be consumed. The band performing in the photos taken on Saturday, March 15th, Liz and the Belly Swirls, contains 2 members of the Kelly family, Leo and Bob Kelly on lead and bass guitar. Liz Treiber is the lead vocalist; the drummer is Greg Hipskind. Liz and the Belly Swirls are a local band that has been performing throughout the area for 15 years.

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Connie Wilson

Biographical Information Connie (Corcoran) Wilson graduated from the University of Iowa and earned a Master’s degree from Western Illinois University, with additional study at Northern Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago. She taught writing at six Iowa/Illinois colleges and wrote for five newspapers and 7 blogs. Her stories and interviews have appeared online and in print and her work has won prizes from “Whim’s Place Flash Fiction," “Writer’s Digest” (Screenplay), E-Lit award for 3 works, Illinois Women's Press Association Silver Feather awards, Pinnacle award (NABE) and recommendations for the Bram Stoker award. She is the author of 4 nonfiction published books, 4 short story collections, 1 novel and there are 2 novels ready for publication (the trilogy beginning with "The Color of Evil.") She reviewed film and books for the Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) for 12 years and wrote humor columns and conducted interviews for the (Moline, Illinois) Daily Dispatch.

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