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St. Patrick's Day brings extra foot traffic to downtown Toledo for the weekend

St. Patrick's Day kicked off a busy weekend in downtown Toledo, with both touring shows and local businesses reaping the benefits.

TOLEDO, Ohio — St. Patrick's Day kicked off a busy weekend in downtown Toledo, with a few bars opening up as early as 6 a.m. on Friday.

Attendees celebrated the holiday with Irish cheer and green beer throughout the day. During evening hours, families got to attend the 71st annual Zenobia Shrine Circus or Monster Jam all downtown. While attendees could have attended all the festivities in one day, Friday was just the beginning.

For the circus at the Glass City Center, attendees can still catch the Saturday shows at either 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. There are also two Sunday shows at 1:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.

The Monster Jam at the Huntington Center also has Saturday shows at 1:00 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday shows at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Monster Jam fan Grady Getorski said there's no bad show and thinks everyone should come downtown to check it out.

"My favorite is probably the Gravedigger," Getorski said. "The moves are really good and the tricks. [Weston Anderson] is a really good driver."

Monster Jam Tour Manager Rebecca Marsch said that while St. Patrick's Day offers a lot of activities for adults, that doesn't take away from the fun and the excitement for everyone at Monster Jam. If anything, the crowds create more foot traffic for local businesses.

"It really creates that centralized union of people that can go out to eat before coming to us. They can go and do other activities before coming to Monster Jam. which I think makes us so unique," Marsch said.

And Toledo shows its appetite for the monster trucks, Marsch said. When she has to organize tours, Monster Jam usually doesn't host five events in the two or four-hour sessions.

Just across the street at the Glass City Center, Toledo is big into the Shrine Circus, the Circus Director, Dennis Gable, said.   

"We've been here 71 years bringing it to the Toledo area," Gable said. "We're happy to do it, we do it for the kids. Our philanthropy is to help children have better lives. We run 22 hospitals, which allows us to do it."

 An hour before the circus happens, families can let their children get pony rides, do face painting, take a train ride or play in the bounce house. They could even take pictures with the clowns, camels or Tony the Wonder Llama. 

Tony's handler, Nina Meluzzi, said he's a one-of-a-kind show llama. 

"He's the only llama, as we know, in the world to jump through a tiny hula hoop," Meluzzi said.

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