It was a warm and sunny St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Oxford. The holiday and the good weather brought many people to enjoy good food, drink and friends. Clockwise from bottom: Owen Stange, Cassie Stange, Maddy Scheuler, Anna Terenzi and Mariana Terenzi grab lunch and some drinks at Gravcap Brewing. For more pictures and the rest of the story see Page 12. Photo by D. Vaglia
By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
With balmy 60 degree weather and mid-March sunshine, people poured into Oxford to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday, March 17) with the downtown bars and restaurants.
Many restaurants in the Village of Oxford took part in the St. Paddy’s Day celebrations with special events, menu items and plenty of beer from the tap.
“[St. Patrick’s Day] happens to be one of the busier days of the year,” Thomas Wrobel, GravCap Brewing owner, said. “A lot of people come to downtown Oxford just for the amount of establishments that we have. We get a lot of walkers, a lot of people visiting, and they like to frequent just about every place and call it a good St. Patrick’s Day afternoon.”
Preparation typically begins several weeks out by stocking up on beer and hiring extra staff. With St. Patrick’s Day being one of the first spring holidays, restaurants take the opportunity to open up the outdoor seating.
“We had igloos over the winter so [St. Patrick’s Day] is kind of the official end of winter for us on the patio,” Jeff Powers, Homegrown Brewing Company general manager, said. “We tear all those down, clear all the furniture out.”
At Homegrown, the cleared-off patio was used for activities like beer pong and jumbo Jenga rather than outdoor dining. GravCap brought in a DJ and food truck to support the influx of customers for the day. And while not fully outdoors, Sullivan’s Public House used a tent to extend covered seating behind the building.
After two years of COVID restrictions and a more cautious approach to public gatherings, 2022 marks the first time since 2020 that there have been any major St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. And when combined with the outdoor social districts — a measure taken to allow people to patronize businesses without worry about infection — and the implementation of the Oxford-Lake Orion trolley, this year’s St. Pat’s was one of the most festive in a while.
“Obviously the past two years we have had COVID, so it has been less than popping,” Powers said. “This year is going to be, I think, the ‘back to normal’ St. Paddy’s that we all love.”