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Bemidji doubly green for Beavers, St. Patrick's Day

It's time for the wearing of the green today in honor of both St. Patrick's Day and the Bemidji State University men's hockey team playing in the WCHA Final Five. Mitch Rautio hands Sue Westrum the parade map for the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, to be held today at 5:30 p.m. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidjians have plenty of reasons to wear green today.

Not only is it St. Patrick's Day, when people of all heritages throw on some green clothing and become Irish for the day, but this afternoon also will mark the Beavers' first WCHA Final Five appearance for the Bemidji State University men's hockey team.

In Bemidji, hockey fans will be tuned in to TVs and radios for the 3:37 p.m. game against University of Minnesota-Duluth, being played in St. Paul.

Then, the crowds will start gathering on Beltrami Avenue Northwest for the 5:30 p.m. World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, which will run between Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant and Keg 'N' Cork.

"I would think we're going to have a few more people," predicted Mitch Rautio, the owner of Keg 'N' Cork.

Rautio said he has been fielding calls from parade-goers wanting to know if the Beavers game would be on TV throughout St. Patrick's Day activities.

Today's parade will mark the fifth annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade in Bemidji.

Ann Hayes, the owner of Brigid's Cross, said St. Patrick's Day usually means a busier day. The pub opens an hour earlier than usual, at 11 a.m.

"We'll definitely have people out celebrating early," she said.

The World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade this year has some tongue-in-cheek fun.

There really is a map available this year for the parade route, which, literally, crosses the street.

And Rautio said there will be a race demonstration event, "kind of like a dragon boat on land."

"St. Patrick's is always a fun and busy day," he said.