St. Patrick’s Day kicked off a busy weekend in downtown Toledo, with both touring shows and local businesses reaping the rewards.

TOLEDO, Ohio — St. Patrick’s Day kicked off a busy weekend in downtown Toledo, with several bars opening as early as 6 a.m. Friday.

All day, those present celebrated the holiday with Irish joys and green beer. In the evening hours, families had to be present 71st Annual Zenobia Shrine Circus or Monster Jam the entire city center. While visitors could take in all the festivities in one day, Friday was just the beginning.

As for the circus at Glass City Center, patrons can still catch Saturday shows at 11:00am, 3:00pm or 7:00pm. Also two Sunday shows at 1pm or 5pm.

Monster Jam at the Huntington Center also has Saturday shows at 1:00pm and 7:00pm and Sunday shows at 1:00pm and 6:30pm.

Monster Jam fan Grady Getarski said there is no such thing as a bad show and believes everyone should come downtown to watch.

“My favorite is probably Grabar,” Getorski said. “The moves are really good and the tricks. [Weston Anderson] a really good driver.”

Monster Jam Tour Manager Rebecca Marsh said that while St. Patrick’s Day offers plenty of activities for adults, that doesn’t take away from the fun and excitement for everyone at Monster Jam. If anything, the crowd creates more foot traffic for local businesses.

“It really creates a centralized union of people who can go eat before coming to us. They can go and do other things before coming to Monster Jam. I think that’s what makes us so unique,” Marsh said.

And Toledo is showing its appetite for monster trucks, Marsh said. When she does have to organize tours, Monster Jam usually doesn’t do five events in two to four hour sessions.

Across the street in downtown Glass, Toledo has a big place in the Shrine Circus, circus director Dennis Gable said.

“We’ve been here 71 years bringing this to the Toledo area,” Gable said. “We’re excited to do it, we’re doing it for kids. Our philanthropy is to help kids live better. We operate 22 hospitals, which allows us to do that.”

An hour before the circus starts, families can let their kids ride a pony, have their face painted, ride a train or play in a bounce house. They could even have their picture taken with clowns, camels or Tony the Wonder Llama.

Tony’s handler, Nina Meluzzi, said he is a one-of-a-kind show llama.

“As far as we know, he’s the only llama in the world that jumps through a tiny hula hoop,” Meluzzi said.

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