CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “I’ve got on Tarheel earrings, get a load of that,” Judy Joyner laughed.

ACC fans  are flooding the Queen City, and Duke and North Carolina fans turned the Spectrum Center into a sea of blue Friday night.

The action in uptown continues Saturday with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicking off at 11 a.m. Organizers expect 3,000 marchers and 45,000 attendees.

Police assure the public they will increase security.

“You’ll see a lot more patrols out there, foot patrols, bike patrols things of that sort," said Charlotte Crime Prevention Officer Jonathon Frisk. "Just to have that visibility out there."

It wouldn’t be St. Pats without a party. The city’s famed Rich and Bennett’s Pub Crawl is happening from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, participants hitting several bars in South End and uptown Charlotte.

Police urge people to go in groups, among other safety precautions.

“Make sure you know it’s the bartender handing you a drink and some strangers just not passing a drink along to you,” Frisk said.

If you’re driving in the area, there are closures Saturday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Tryon Street between Stonewall Street and Third Street
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between College Street and Church Street
  • Levine Avenue of the Arts between Church Street and South Tryon Street

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