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NIAGARA FALLS – This place has long been an Italian town. But today, even Niagara Falls is Irish for a day.

More than 2,500 guests are expected to fill the downtown Conference & Event Center for the city’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day party.

“This is truly the largest annual party of its kind in Western New York,” said Jason Murgia, director of events at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls.

Hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and will carry on into the night.

The annual bash will feature traditional Irish food and beverages, music by the Blarney Bunch and Irish dance performances by the McCarthy School of Dance.

Good cheer isn’t the only objective. The party will also benefit a good cause, as attendees are asked to bring in nonperishable food items to be donated to Heart & Soul Food Pantry in the city.

Tickets are $7 in advance or $8 at the door, and children under 12 receive free admission. Proceeds from the tickets benefit the Ancient Order’s Niagara County Chapter, Division 1.

Prior to the party, guests can experience one of the city’s quirkier ethnic events.

With no chance at competing with Buffalo’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which streams up Delaware Avenue, Niagara Falls has taken the opposite approach.

The “World’s Shortest Parade” will begin at 4:45 p.m. at Old Falls Street at First Street. The parade lasts just 75 steps and concludes at the entrance of the Conference & Event Center, 101 Old Falls St.

email: cspecht@buffnews.com