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ST. PAUL, Minn. - There is no denying the rich Irish heritage of St. Paul and the past 48 years they have shown it by hosting a what's become an epic green party and parade.

"Tradition. Absolutely 110 percent tradition," says Heather O'Keeffe Schmidt, President of the St. Patrick's Association.

O'Keeffe Schmidt says, with a few exceptions, like last year, the parade is usually held on March 17, but starting next year the city of St. Paul has made a decision.

"We've made it clear to them moving forward into future years we'll only be accepting applications for a Saturday parade to celebrate St. Patrick's Day," says Joe Spencer, the city's Arts Director.

St. Paul City officials say attendance increased the last two years when the parade was held on Saturday. It's less disruptive for downtown businesses, easier to close down streets and kids don't have to be taken out of school to attend.

The problem is, while the city grants the permit for the parade, it's the St. Patrick's Association that puts it on.

"For us to hold a parade on a Saturday it costs us double. We're the ones who finance that parade. We're the ones paying police officer overtime so for us. It's a cost factor," says O'Keeffe Schmidt.

"We've worked with Visit St. Paul and businesses in the community and I gave them every assurance that we'd be able to help out and off-set those costs with new sponsors and do everything we can as the city to make sure that they're not bearing the burden of any increased costs because of this move to Saturday," says Spencer.

There are few Irish names more notable in St. Paul than O'Gara, and as both a businessman and board member, Dan is against the move.

"The tradition of having it on the day where people leave work at noon to go to the parade and then they go out and have fun. It's just a tradition in St. Paul for 48 years," says Dan O'Gara.

On the other hand, Lisa Conway runs all the cultural events at the Landmark Center and she welcomes the bigger crowds.

"Switching it to a Saturday would really be more welcoming for families," she says.

And while St. Paul seems firm in it's decision, the St. Patrick's Association says it will fight to keep the tradition in place.

"Yes, I will and so will my association," says O'Keeffe Schmidt.

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