People in Saskatoon were once again filling into pubs to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday.
For the first time in two years, these celebrations were unfettered by the COVID-19 public health restrictions of 2020 and 2021.
St. Patrick’s Day is a special day for Dave Cave. The Saskatoon native combines St. Patrick’s Day with his birthday from him and asks all his friends from him to join him in taking the day off to truly feel the luck of the Irish.
“It’s good to see people out, they’re celebrating, they’re enjoying themselves — and actually seeing them smiling. It’s a great thing to see,” Cave said.
As Cave shared in some laughs at O’Shea’s Irish Pub, he was reminded of two years ago when COVID-19 started to take hold in the province.
“You get all the Facebook memories, all the reminders saying how things changed, and now to see it opening, it’s kind of like a nice full circle,” Cave said.
O’Shea’s owner Dan Beavis was dressed head-to-toe in Irish green.
From his green plaid hat, matching shamrock suspenders and shirt to his green kilt, Beavis was thrilled to see most of the tables filled for his annual breakfast feast to begin the day.
However, he was still forced to repeat a phrase that became common during the changing restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021.
“I would say I’m cautiously optimistic,” Beavis said. “I’m excited to be back and having people get together and have fun and smile and see their faces.”
Breakfast on Thursday was free for anyone who walked in, with Beavis and the staff hoping customers would donate the usual cost of the meal to the Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.
The crowd was smaller than he had hoped, but following two years of restrictions, he appreciates any customer that walks in.
“I have little kids and I want them to see friends and family getting together on this wonderful day that helps us celebrate spring in Saskatchewan,” Beavis said.
Beavis said St. Patrick’s Day is the pub’s best business day of the year, and while he was left wondering how the rest of the day and evening would turn out Thursday, he feels St. Paddy’s Day celebrations are a great way to pause and appreciate the little things.
“Let’s make sure we take a chance to smile amongst all the negativity and let’s find the positivity,” he said.
Cave’s partner Katie Samuel was apprehensive about going out for St. Patrick’s Day when she found out restrictions were being lifted at the beginning of the month, but being surrounded by the crowd at O’Shea’s helped ease her worries.
“He was so used to it being such a big event,” Samuel said, looking at Cave.
“This is actually something that seems a little bit more familiar. He really needs a day to actually feel like things are ok.”