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Which day to celebrate St. Patrick's?

To raise as a toast your green beer, or corned beef and cabbage, on the Monday that is St. Patrick's Day, or do it the previous Saturday?

Pronouncements early-on from Catholic bishops across the country -- that if their flock wants to imbibe, they should do it on Saturday and not during the early part of Holy Week -- have taken on a life of their own.

One of those requests came in late February from the archdiocese just across the river, and it appears to have trickled over to here, since virtually every place offering both spirits and food has adopted a different take on how to do their business -- and still meet the unusual timing of Easter 2008.

The local Superior diocese doesn't appear to be taking a hard stance, although in Almena, which is only an hour northeast of Hudson, a traditional Sunday parade was moved up a week so it would not conflict with Palm Sunday.

It appears to be the drinking that often goes with St. Patrick's Day that has the bishops concerned, rather than various Irish foods. Since places are touting things such as Irish Car Bombs at $7 a drink, maybe you can see their point.

Adam Wekkin, a bartender at Mudds & Sudds in North Hudson, says the prime day to celebrate is Monday. "I'm Irish and I'm Catholic," he said, "although if you wear green here on Saturday, I'll still set you up." Monday there are the official specials and a band.

Wekkin expects Monday will be the main day for Irish-oriented food and drink, even if people trek to the Twin Cities. But unlike weekends, where there is a late rush from Minneapolis-St. Paul, you won't see that on the Monday holiday, since most people have to work the next day. "So I don't plan to see you if you go there first," Wekkin said, adding the locals that do this, too, will likely go home early.

However, the only day mega-companies like Miller Beer are giving free rides home in the Twin Cities is on Saturday.

The Village Inn will have Killian's and Guinness specials on Monday, and they have started offering a new Irish whiskey whose name would be a bit questionable for a family newspaper. Posters on the wall describe made-up situations where people such as an Irish soccer star initially pitch the drink, then become disgruntled and don't show up for the photo shoot -- and abruptly hang up the phone when the call comes to find their whereabouts.

Idaho Chucks will offer five new Irish whiskeys on special to greet St. Patrick's Day, but Monday is the time. An opinion was passed that asking for a special on Saturday would be like lobbying for a free birthday drink two days ahead of time -- it's close but no cigar.

In addition to corned beef and cabbage, Dick's Bar and Grill will be one of the few having a Monday band, named Good Time Willy, fittingly.

But enough about Monday. On Saturday and Sunday at Dibbo's, there will be both rock music and corned beef and cabbage while it lasts, and the bands on Friday have names that sound decidedly Irish -- McKinley Place along with opening act Jacob Martin.

At Green Mill, the leprechauns that are painted green and cover almost every inch of the front doors should be a clue. The establishment has three Irish food specials and several drink specials, and the drink variety run "all week," for five days from Thursday through the actual Monday holiday. Barker's initially considered an all-weekend gig, as well, but it went the way of the leprechauns.

Buffalo Wild Wings is playing it cool this St. Patrick's Day, since they are relatively new on the Hudson scene, but a manager said that they are going to have a big St. Patrick's Day bash next year.

Others have said that a Monday fest, even on a holiday, would be ho hum, or have wondered what will happen on the Sunday sandwiched between, or the ability of a tee-totaling Irish Monday brunch to meet the requirements.

And oh, in case some business does suffer, local managers can take heart in that Easter won't again come early enough to align with St. Patrick's Day for decades to come.