"This year, we were wondering what we’re going to do, if we were going to be able to do anything!"By Andrea Alvarez

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – They hold one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in all of Pinellas County, and while this year is giving them a run for their money, the owner of Finley’s Irish Pub says he’s still aiming for the pot of gold-celebration in 2021.

“St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish pub is a great celebration. We sell a… lot of corned beef and cabbage here. Almost two thousand pounds,” said Mark Ternes, Owner of Finley’s Irish Pub and Eatery in Largo. He’s celebrating ten years of St. Patrick’s Day there.

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“Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Welcome to Finley’s! We’re so happy to have you back,” yells Jack, the parking attendant and greeter there during the holiday.

“Live music, Irish bands, Irish dancers, bagpipers,” explains Ternes about the festivities.

Known for their fenced in parking lot, six giant tents, and outdoor live bands, this year felt a little different after a hard hit in 2020 just as businesses were told to shut down due to COVID-19.

“We were all set, ready to go. The Irish band was doing sound check. The people started coming through the gate. We’re listening to it on the radio and the Governor said ‘No more than 50 people’, so [we] shut it down, never got to use any of our stuff. That day it was tens of thousands of dollars lost,” said Ternes.

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“So this year, throughout the year we were wondering what we’re going to do, if we were going to be able to do anything, and things finally started lightening up with COVID.”

Ternes says he already knew he was in for a smaller crowd this year. “We figured we’ll have less people but we still have to have outside [seating] and people want to eat outside so it’ll bring more people, so that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

But you can’t take away the good music, green.. everything, and a good time.

“This is a day for celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration day. You see smiles on faces. You see people walking around, coming out of their house.”

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And he tacked on a special thanks to those who helped make it happen in 2021: “I’m just really proud of my staff…It’s a lot of work,” he added.