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Oxonians celebrate Saint Patrick’s with yearly pub crawl

Saint Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, and one group of Oxonians is celebrating in a big way.

The 9th annual Saint Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl is set to begin at Proud Larry’s at 3 p.m. Founder Joe Don started the event when he moved to Oxford in 2010. He said he got the idea for a pub crawl after spending Saint Patrick’s Day in Oxford the year before, and realizing there weren’t any celebrations going on.

“The first year, I got ahold of a bunch of my friends, around 12 or 14 of us, and we hit ten bars that night. We picked up a few people along the way, and it was like a normal day on the Square,” Don said. “The next year, we had 100 people show up.”

Today, the pub crawl sees as many as 400 people in attendance, something Don said helps boost the local economy during the slow spring break week, and shows the need for more Saint Patrick’s Day festivities in town.

“Last year, we had over 400 people and were packing three bars at once,” he said. “What I’m hoping is that one day the city will get involved, and that they’ll do a Saint Paddy’s parade for all ages.”

Other than the Oxford pub crawl, the closest celebration for the holiday is at Silky O’Sullivan’s in Memphis.

Don said he prides himself on being 50 percent Irish, but says the pub crawl is open to everyone, regardless of their Emerald Isle ancestry.

“Everyone’s Irish on Saint Paddy’s Day,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, so once people come, they want to come back every year.”

The crawl will start at Proud Larry’s, and change locations about every hour. They will then travel around the Square, stopping by the Library, Round Table, Funky’s, Rooster’s Blues House, the Blind Pig and Locals. For the second year in a row, Jameson Irish Whiskey is sponsoring the event, providing free merchandise and entertainment.

Seven bars, Don said, is the lucky number. However, he admits making it to all seven is a challenge for even the most experienced Irishman.

“Seven is a good number for a pub crawl,” he said. “But when you get past seven there starts to be a little memory loss, to say the least.”

Sarah Hughey, a bartender at the Blind Pig Pub, said the Saint Patrick’s day crowd is always a pleasant one.

“They’re always pretty nice. There are some crazy ones, but those are usually the ones who hop on the train, so to speak,” Hughey said. “I look forward to it, but it sneaks up on us some years.”

According to Don, the bar staff is always notified a few days in advance in an effort to avoid an ambush of customers.

For future Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in the LOU community, Don said he dreams of seeing a family friendly parade on the Square, complete with vendors and floats. The pub crawl crowd already crowns a best-dressed king and queen for the day, and he said, once the younger celebrants clear out, the pub crawl could begin.

For now, the group will keep crawling.

For more information on the 9th Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl, visit their Facebook event page, Oxford, Mississippi St. Paddy’s Pub Crawl – 2018. Those who would like to be part of the festivities can meet the group at Proud Larry’s Saturday at 3 p.m.