Crowds gather for St. Patrick's Day celebration in San Jose

At O'Flaherty's Irish Pub in San Jose, the festivities started early on St. Patrick's Day. There was music inside, Irish dancers outside, and a crowd happy to take it all in.

"It's definitely a relief to be out. It's nice seeing people smiling, being social, friendly. You can't ask for anything better," says Drew Lorenzo, from Dorchester Massachusetts.

It's a relief and a return to normal after several years of COVID.

"I think people have kind of forgotten about it and are more relaxed and don't mind being in groups as much. And people tend to be letting their hair down and moving on from it and getting out and making up for lost time," says David Mulvehill, owner of O'Flaherty's Irish Pub.

So the plan was to make this year big. With San Pedro Street closed to traffic, there was more space for tents and tables. 
And neighboring businesses joined in too. Irish or not they were prepared for overflow crowds.

"All of us we all come together. It doesn't matter what type of business we are. As long as we're here to celebrate and we have the green beer flowing, people are going to come," says Randy Musterer of Sushi Confidential.

And come they did, many decked out in green from head to toe.

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"We have matching socks, bracelets. We just get into the spirit of it," says Debbie Madsen. Her sister Carol Wick adds, "No matter what it is."

Revelers say this year's St. Patrick's Day may be the best one yet: that post-lockdown we just do outdoor events better and appreciate them more.

"We never shut down the streets and just threw parties like this. Honestly obviously a lot of bad things came from the pandemic, but we also have some little things we can take from it too," says Michael Carriere of San Jose.

Also, great for organizers, the fact the holiday fell on a Friday, and the weather was good. The party on San Pedro Street will continue until about 2 a.m.