PHOTOS: Ave Maria in the green during St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Luke Scheck, 14, left battles Joey DeLiso, 14, right, in the inflatable jousting ring next to the Oratory at Ave Maria University during Wearing of the Green, an Irish food and drink festival in the  Town Center on March 6, 2010. Greg Kahn/Staff

Photo by GREG KAHN // Buy this photo

Luke Scheck, 14, left battles Joey DeLiso, 14, right, in the inflatable jousting ring next to the Oratory at Ave Maria University during Wearing of the Green, an Irish food and drink festival in the Town Center on March 6, 2010. Greg Kahn/Staff

— Green beer and Irish music helped jump-start St. Patrick’s Day celebrations during Ave Maria’s Wearing of the Green event Saturday.

A local band, West of Galway, entertained attendees while the Queen Mary Pub served up traditional Irish fare.

“This has been well-received and it’s a really nice crowd for 12:30 in the afternoon,” said Bernie Green, the guitar player for West of Galway. “Crowds like this are not true Irish music fans. They’re here for the festivities so we play everything you can sing and clap along to.”

The kilt-clad group had a small crowd sitting in the grass to watch its performance.

“It’s that time of year, so we thought we’d come out and enjoy the day,” said Carolyn Gorman, a Naples resident who set up lawn chairs with her husband to watch the band. “We love Irish music.”

Just a short walk from the band, Daniel Dix was busy pouring green food dye into pitchers of beer.

“You just add a little bit of food coloring to it in the spirit of the Irish,” said Dix, the owner of the Queen Mary Pub.

In addition to green-tinted lager, the Pub also served corn beef and cabbage with potatoes.

“We’ve been doing great today,” Dix said. “We have people spilling out from here and all our seats are taken.”

The event also offered face painting, jousting, and a bounce house for children.

__ Contact Catherine Howden at catherine.howden@gmail.com

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