March Madness and St. Patrick's Day weekend boosting local businesses

By Alison Wickline - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - It's a big weekend for businesses in the Star City.

202 Social House is packed. The downtown Roanoke restaurant has big screens and that means, March Madness fans are not hard to find. 

"With March Madness, everybody fills out a bracket anymore. So everybody has a favorite team or they just like watching the game because there's always a good game whether you have a team in it or not," said Neal Keesee, owner of 202 Social House.

While teams are winning in the tournament, local restaurants are winning here at home. From 202 Social House to Buffalo Wild Wings, the tournament is a big moneymaker.

"I think it's imperative. These big sporting events really help our business and we give back to the customer what they want to see," said Keesee.

This year, March Madness matches up with the St. Patrick's Day weekend. And that's great news for downtown businesses of all kinds. On Saturday, thousands of people will fill the streets for the holiday parade and the Shamrock Festival, a tradition for the city that gains national attention every year.

"Our celebration is now one of the largest on the East Coast. It's really become a mecca for people to come to Roanoke," said Jaime Clark, with Downtown Roanoke Inc.

The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. with the festival running from noon to 5 p.m.
 

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