MILWAUKEE -- In less than 24 hours from now, Milwaukee will go green with people celebrating St. Patrick's Day! The event on Saturday, March 11th, is expected to draw tens of thousands of people -- and organizers say they're ready for it.
"The parade is one of the most festive and exciting days downtown Milwaukee. If you haven't been downtown in a while we encourage you to come down and check it out," said Stacie Callies, Westown Association.
At a kick-off event Friday, March 10th at the Shops of Grand Avenue, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett held a news conference to signal the beginning of the city's 51st Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"This is sort of the United Nations time of year where everybody gets to celebrate a different nationality. And of course tomorrow is a day when everybody in the city is going to love being a part of the Irish culture that we have here," said Barrett.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to be in attendance for this year's parade. City officials say they're working closely with the police department to make sure everyone has a good time while ensuring that things stay under control.
"It is Milwaukee, it's called Brew City and you got to take the good with the bad. There might be some drinking down here, you might get a couple drunk, rowdy people, but you got to come down and enjoy the parade," said Brian Everton, event attendee.
Organizers say that police will be stationed along the along the entire parade route to provide security.
"Never felt unsafe down here, the police are here and a lot of people are out. I've never had anything bad happen to me here, downtown Milwaukee here. So come downtown and enjoy yourself," said Everton.
Milwaukee police and parade officials are advising anybody coming out to the parade this weekend, to practice safe drinking as well as safe driving. If you're going to be drinking alcohol, make sure that you have a ride set up so they can get you back home safely.