The best party of the week will be in Deadwood with the annual St. Patrick's Day Weekend celebration.

Festivities will begin Thursday night with "St. Panties Day," Saloon #10's lingerie, alcohol and wine auction to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The full party begins at 5 p.m. Friday as open containers are allowed in Zones 1 and 2 (in official cups only) and people begin to register for the Leprechaun Olympics, a St. Patrick's Day-themed game series with activities such as a bean bag toss and a Shamrock Putt.

"You don't need to be an Olympic athlete to take part in the Leprechaun Olympics," said Amanda Kille, marketing director for the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce. "But a little luck of the Irish will help."

The Leprechaun Olympics will be followed by an Awards Party at Paddy O'Neill's at Tin Lizzie's. Prizes for the winners include bar tabs, free rooms, gift baskets and gold bucks (the citywide gift certificate system).

"We'll have live music, some drink specials, and awards throughout," Kille said. "Otherwise it's just a party. People don't need instructions to figure out how to have a good time."

Saturday's events, meanwhile, are highlighted by the Eggs & Kegs breakfast at Saloon #10, the St. Paddy's Poker Run and Parade (both at noon), and the annual pub crawl, which sees groups — or "clans" — hitting the bars to try to win awards.

"There's a lot going on during the pub crawl," Kille said. "You don't have to go to literally every location, but you have a list, where each clan is assigned an itinerary of eight locations and given a half hour for each location." 

Kille said that clans tend to get into the spirit of the holiday, making up their own chants. Additionally, those wishing to participate are advised to meet outside the Franklin Hotel no later than 2:25 p.m. to be part of the annual group picture.

The festivities will end at the Historic Franklin Hotel at 7 p.m. with the Pub Crawl Awards and St. Paddy's Party.

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Each year sees thousands attending, and Kille recommends that those who travel to Deadwood register for free to be given a complimentary event cup.

"It's so much fun, and until I had to work it, I never missed a single one, ever," Kille said. "It's lighthearted adult fun. When you ask why do this, well, why not?"

For more information, visit deadwood.com/events/stpatricksdayweekend or call the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce at 578-1876.

[This story has been edited to reflect a correction. The correct date for the Eggs & Kegs breakfast and other following events is Saturday.]

Contact Max B. O'Connell at 394-8427 or max.oconnell@rapidcityjournal.com

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