At Syracuse's 60th annual Green Beer Sunday everyone is Irish for the day St. Patrick's Day celebrations start early in Syracuse, N.Y., where the green beer is already flowing.

At Syracuse's 60th annual Green Beer Sunday everyone is Irish for the day

At Syracuse's 60th annual Green Beer Sunday everyone is Irish for the day

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St. Patrick's Day celebrations start early in Syracuse, N.Y., where the green beer is already flowing.

A MART├ŹNEZ, HOST:

Did you know Syracuse, N.Y., spends weeks celebrating St. Patrick's Day? So a bar there is going all in with green beer - 10,000 gallons of it. Ava Pukatch is with member station WRVO. She visited the neighborhood where the celebration kicked off with the 60th annual Green Beer Sunday.

AVA PUKATCH, BYLINE: On a chilly Sunday morning, the line to enter Coleman's, an Irish pub in Tipperary Hill, stretches up the hill to the city's upside-down stoplight, where proud Irish immigrants in the 1920s would break the light because they wanted their nationality on top of the British red.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PUKATCH: Thousands in a sea of green, wearing kilts, four-leaf clover cowboy hats and shamrock temporary tattoos, celebrate by toasting with pitchers of beer. And it starts off a parade with Irish dancers, bagpipes and even a Miss Green Beer.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRUCK HORN HONKING)

PUKATCH: Those beeps are each from a 10,000-gallon tanker truck filled with green beer. It's going to be sold until St. Patrick's Day.

MICHAEL RYAN: I'm Michael Ryan, the grand marshal. This is my wife, Mary Kay.

PUKATCH: Michael and Mary Kay Ryan met at Peter Coleman's pub 14 years ago. They celebrated their wedding there, and today, they are the grand marshals in the roughly two-block-long parade.

RYAN: So when my dad was grand marshal in 2006, he wore this very tie that Peter Coleman gave them with the green beers on it. And I only wore this once since then. I wore it to Peter Coleman's funeral. So it's a big tradition, it's a big honor for me to carry on my dad's tradition and Peter Coleman's tradition.

PUKATCH: Peter Coleman invented the holiday. Because he always had to work St. Patrick's, he picked a Sunday to ring in the season with some friends. And each year, the event grew. His daughter Beth says this year, the pub launched a beer in his memory.

BETH COLEMAN DEEHAN: He is so with us in spirit, and I know he is smiling down on this, that this tradition - and it will - he'll always be with us. This will carry on.

PUKATCH: Jean Doner is a former Green Beer Sunday marshal and has been coming to Coleman's since 1957.

JEAN DONER: It's unbelievable what this has turned into and people from all over - I mean, you know, not just the neighborhood, like it once was.

PUKATCH: What are a few of your memories of the early Green Beer Sundays.

DONER: I'm not quite sure we believed that the - it was green - real green beer. But we kind of, like, went along with Peter, knowing that he was out in the other room pouring food coloring in.

PUKATCH: As for what makes the beer green now, Michael Ryan won't say.

RYAN: That's a secret. Nobody tells any of that (laughter).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Only the leprechauns can tell you about that.

PUKATCH: As St. Patrick's Day approaches, Syracusans will continue to ring in the season with more parades, celebrations and, of course, green beer.

Thank you so much. Happy Green Beer Day.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Thank you. Yes, happy Green Beer Day.

RYAN: Happy Beer Day.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLASSES CLINKING)

PUKATCH: For NPR News, I'm Ava Pukatch in Syracuse.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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