At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Tim Kavanaugh, owner of Kavanaugh's Hilltop Tap, saw two cars stop by his Rock Island-based establishment.
"They stopped to take pictures of our tents going up,'' Kavanaugh said. "They gave me 'thumbs up' that they will be part of the party.''
As the COVID-19 disease spreads, some local St. Patrick's Day-themed events are being canceled, but Kavanaugh confirmed the eighth annual Shamrockin' Paddy O' Pardy is a go. It's set to begin at 8 p.m. Friday with blues star Hector Anchondo performing.
The bash will be kicked up a notch Saturday, when a bevy of bands will perform, and food and drink specials will be offered. An estimated 6,000-plus Quad-Citians are expected to make their way to the Hilltop for the celebration. Saturday events will begin at 10 a.m., and the first of five bands will perform at noon.
"We understand everyone's concerns over COVID-19, and we respect those who wish to avoid crowds,'' said Kavanaugh, who has been planning this weekend's celebration for several months with business partner Scott Hancock.
"This is our New Year's and Christmas rolled into one,'' he added. "We have asked people at every turn if this should be a go, and they responded, 'Yes.' I even posted the question on social media this morning (Thursday), and everyone responded that they want it to happen.''
It is not lost on Kavanaugh that COVID-19 is real. He, Hancock and staff will have a number of hand-sanitizing stations available for those in attendance. Maintaining a safe and healthy environment, he said, is paramount.
"We know nothing is perfect and there will be lots of people in one space, but we have taken steps in preparation for this. We want everyone to be safe and to have fun. It would be tough to just shut down; we are in the people business.''
An early response to his question on social media motivated Kavanaugh.
"They posted that they plan their (spring) schedule of events around our party,'' Kavanaugh said. "That pushed me. Now I just need to make sure I order enough (beer) to keep everyone happy. But everything is a go.''
The St. Patrick's Day party is also still on at O'Keefe's in downtown Moline, which is owned by Hancock. It will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309 757 8388 or email@example.com
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