St. Patrick's Day salute

March 17, 2009 4:51:02 PM PDT
A Monmouth County tavern held its annual salute to the patron St. of the Emerald Isle, and had plenty of company.

At Kelly's Tavern in Neptune, St. Patrick's Day is like New Year's Eve and the 4th of July all rolled into one.

Hundreds, if not thousands, cycle through the landmark Irish Bar to listen to bagpipes, tip a glass or two, and feast on the traditional corn beef and cabbage.

"I say by 7:00 when the doors open there's probably a few hundred people in here and it doesn't stop all day," said Andrew Wardell of Kelly's Tavern.

"All my family's here from Alaska, Maryland it's just time to have off to be with family to love each other and have fun and celebrate," said Jennifer MacDonald.

"Our last name is Murphy. It's just a celebration of the Irish, everybody's Irish today," exclaimed Maureen Murphy.

Feeding all these St. Patty's Day partiers is no easy task. Kelly's cooks up over 22 tons of corned beef during the month of March, today alone more than 7 tons! Add to those 30 cases of cabbage and almost 3,000 pounds of potatoes.

"We start cooking corned beef two weeks before parade day and then we just keep cooking it all the way up until St. Patrick's Day. We put the cabbage and potatoes in so we cook it with the corned beef juices, it gives it more flavor," said Chef Jeff LaPoint.

"Tradition, it's about corned beef every March 17th, once a year, every year," said Katie Cullen.

Did you know that corned beef and cabbage is an American invention? Over in Ireland they eat their cabbage and potatoes with boiled bacon. Also on the Emerald Isle St. Patricks day is a holy day, a religious holiday. It's kind of something else here in the United States.

"Everybody's just so happy and warm and friendly, it's just a great day," said Jan White.

"This is the best place, music, food, everything! Happy St. Patrick's Day," wished Woody Wedel.

Silly hats all dressed in green today Irish eyes really are smiling!

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