'Everybody is Irish:' Saint Johners start early on St. Patrick's Day celebrations

'Everybody is Irish:' Saint Johners start early on St. Patrick's Day celebrations

On St. Patrick's Day, Pete Ferguson gets away with green decorations, even if only for a day.

The Scottish owner of Pete's Pub in Saint John said his friends from the St. Andrew's Society, which celebrates Scottish heritage, usually "don't like the Irish stuff up all over the walls all the rest of the year."

But on St. Patrick's Day, "everybody is Irish," he said. "It's all Celtic, it's all good."

New Brunswick is among many places that have turned "green" today in celebration of St. Patrick, a medieval bishop elevated to patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick's Day is a public holiday in Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Caribbean nation of Montserrat. And the first official St. Patrick's Day parade was likely held in New York City in 1762, according to the parade's official website.

Today, the event is less about the man and more about all things Irish.

Celebrating with green beers

Hence why no one really cares where the owner of Pete's Pub hails from, as long as his establishment is decked out in green. 

Crowds were already gathered at pubs around the city by lunchtime, enjoying the grub and beers.

Or waters, as Denielle Poirier admitted to drinking with friends at a restaurant in Market Square. She had to go back to work in the afternoon, she said, but promised to return for a beer later in the day.

Poirier and her husband, Andy, go out every year on St. Patrick's Day with their friends Brian and Joanne Head.

The two couples met on this day 13 years ago.

"We relive it every year," Brian said. "Just seems like a good excuse to catch up with old acquaintances."

A few tables down, Gary Masson also celebrated among friends.

He goes to the pub every Friday, though today was special.

"I got green beer," he said.