River News file photo
The annual St. Patrickís Day Parade will wind its way through downtown Rhinelander on Saturday, March 14. Event organizer Jack Winkler said anyone interested in participating is welcome to join the parade.
2/13/2020 7:30:00 AM St. Patrick's Day pub crawl expands to month-long celebration Parade to be held March 14
Stephanie Kuski River News Features Reporter
Mark your calendars with a four-leaf clover (or maybe a dancing leprechaun), because the ninth annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held on Brown Street in downtown Rhinelander at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14.
In addition, $5 pub crawl cards are now available from participating businesses for the associated month-long pub crawl.
Ticket sales for the pub crawl will benefit the Safe Ride Home Program.
Those who purchase a pub crawl card will be eligible to win drawings of numerous $100 prizes, including a $100 bonus drawing for those with completed cards and a separate $100 drawing for those in attendance. The drawing will take place at 6 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, Tuesday, March 17, at Big Daddy's in downtown Rhinelander.
Aaron Schultz, owner of Big Daddy's and organizer of the pub crawl, said the amount of money given away at the drawing depends on how many pub crawl tickets are sold prior.
"If we sell $5,000 in cards, as an example, then $2,500 goes to the program and $2,500 goes to prizes," Schulz explained. "So that means there would be 25 $100 winners."
Schultz said half of the money from the ticket sales will benefit the Safe Ride Home Program, while the other half will go toward prizes in $100 increments.
"You can win $100 off a $5 card investment for a good cause," Schultz said.
In addition, $3 temperature-sensitive glasses which read "St. Patrick's Day Rhinelander, Wisconsin" will also be available at participating businesses. Those funds will go toward the cost of putting on the parade and pub crawl.
Schultz said the annual pub crawl is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Safe Ride Home Program, which he started 11 years ago. He also said St. Patrick's Day and the associated parade is a great opportunity to bring patrons to downtown Rhinelander.
"This is our ninth year doing this and it gets bigger every year," Schultz said. "It really does show people that this is what an event can build to if you give it enough time to grow. It's a great thing for the community."
Since the pub crawl has been extended to the entire month, Schultz said businesses outside of the downtown area are able to benefit and for much longer than a weekend pub crawl, as are those participants looking to complete the card which lists over 20 local establishments.
Pub crawl cards are available now from participating businesses including Al-Gen, Big Daddy's, Brown Street 151, Bucketheads, CT's Deli, Days Inn & Suites, Jailhouse Saloon, Knight Gallery, Moonlighting, Northwestern, Pat's Tavern & Grill, Pine Harbor, Porkies II, Rhinelander Brewing Company, Rhinelander Cafe & Pub, River Street Tap, Rocky's Roadhouse, Sackett's Bar, Spencer's Den, Sunset Junction, The Brick and The Woodpecker.
Bars and taverns associated with the pub crawl are also part of the Oneida County Tavern League which sponsors the Safe Ride Home Program, Schultz said.
"The goal of the Safe Ride program is to make sure everyone can go out, have a good time and get home safely," Schultz said. "One of the mottos of the Tavern League is 'drink responsibility, drive responsibility,' and that means, sometimes, letting someone else do the driving."
Schultz said the Oneida County Tavern League, through the Safe Ride Home Program, spends on average $2,250 and assists between 350-450 people per month. He said this is a great program which is proactively working to ensure others make responsible decisions when it comes to drinking and driving.
Safe Ride tickets will be available at participating establishments throughout the duration of the pub crawl and can be picked up from the bartender the night you need a ride.
Various establishments will feature St. Patrick's Day-themed foods, including corn beef and cabbage. Schultz said he will be featuring his signature reuben rolls at Big Daddy's in addition to their usual Guinness on tap and a Sprecher Irish Beer.
In addition to the pub crawl, the St. Patrick's Day Parade will take place the Saturday prior to St. Patrick's Day down Brown Street in Rhinelander.
Parade organizer Jack Winkler said anyone interested in participating is welcome to join the parade.
"It's open to anyone who wants to join," Winkler said.
Families, businesses or individuals can join the parade, Winkler said, and there is no cost to participate.
Winkler said his extended family comes from across the Midwest to attend the Rhinelander St. Patrick's Day Parade, which remains a special occasion for the Winkler family.
For others who have relatives coming in from out of town for the event, Winkler said the Days Inn & Suites is reserving rooms specifically for those coming to town to enjoy the parade.
"Then you don't have to worry about drinking and driving," Winkler said, since Days Inn is walking distance from many of the downtown bars.
In addition, Winkler said he hopes to reserve a bagpiper who had performed in the parade some years ago. He said there is much fun to be had during St. Patrick's Day weekend in downtown Rhinelander.
"Come explore Rhinelander and enjoy the food and fun," Winkler said. "It's just a way to get people involved and hopefully start off the springtime with a little bit of fun."
For more information on joining the St. Patrick's Day Parade, contact Winkler at 715-369-3030.
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