Pics: St. Patrick's Parade in Corktown
Photo from Metromix

Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben

Céad míle fáilte romhat! That's Gaelic for "100,000 welcomes."

It's also the motto of Detroit's Corktown St. Patrick's Day celebration. There are shamrocks, a parade, Irish food, Guinness (and other) beer, and a Mass at St. Patrick's. Here are details about this fun neighborhood and its signature festival.

Detroit is Michigan's eldest city after Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest city in the U.S. Midwest, and Corktown is Detroit's oldest neighborhood. The National Park Service says that the Corktown Historical District, located south of Michigan Avenue and west of the Lodge Freeway (U.S. 10) dates back to the pre-Civil War 1830s. It takes its name from County Cork in Ireland and was founded by wealthier Irish immigrants from New York City. Some survivors of the Irish Potato Famine found Corktown a refuge, too. Corktown History and Redemption in Corktown are two blogs that chronicle the history and several home restoration projects in the Corktown neighborhood.

On March 9, come for Painting of the Shamrocks at 11 a.m. This will take place at the Gaelic League at 2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit, and will proceed to Irish Plaza at Michigan Avenue and Sixth Street for a Press Party with the United Irish Societies officers, parade marshall, Maid of Erin, and Court of St. Brigid. They'll paint the traditional shamrocks for the parade route. From 5-8 p.m., there will be the Friday Lenten fish dinner ($8) at the Gaelic League hall. These dinners continue on through Lent.

On Saturday, March 10th, there will be an pre-parade party at the Gaelic League from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Gaelic League will host another pre-St. Patrick's Day party on Friday, March 16. Both feature live Irish music.

Sunday, March 11, kicks off with Mass at St. Patrick's Church, 58 Parsons St., Detroit, at 10:30 a.m., followed by brunch. The annual Corktown race begins at 11:30 a.m. for kids, and the adult race starts noon. Proceeds go to fund several local Catholic and community charities.

Following this, the St. Patrick's Day parade begins at 2 p.m. The parade runs up Michigan Avenue from Sixth Street to 14th Street and includes marching bands, pipe and drum bands, color guard units, floats, clowns, and novelty groups.

A new initiative will help more Detroiters participate in the city’s growing social innovation movement by telling the stories of new leaders, and creating easy opportunities for people to learn about, take part in and lead local efforts.

Whether they are young artists renewing homes in BanglaTown, or entrepreneurs building small businesses in Southwest Detroit, residents are helping to forge a new identity for the city. While Detroit is becoming recognized as a hub for social innovation, this emerging movement remains nascent and inaccessible to many locally.

The Detroit “Urban Innovation Exchange,” launching March 28 at, will report on these transformational, yet small-scale projects making a difference in Detroit, publish stories across a range of media outlets and foster a social network of innovators. Data will be collected and analyzed to determine what’s working in the way Detroiters are addressing local issues. Through online and offline forums, citizens will be able to learn and connect more productively with one another on social innovation.

Issue Media Group is leading the unique partnership of participating media and community organizations, with $508,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Detroiters are blending entrepreneurship, creative pursuit, and civic action in imaginative ways. But the growth and success of this social innovation movement is too often left to chance. The Urban Innovation Exchange will provide Detroiters the information, learning and networks needed to engage in the city as part of this movement,” said Rishi Jaitly, program director, Detroit, for Knight Foundation.

Media partners involved who will help customize and publish the information include the Detroit Free Press, Huffington Post, Model D, New Michigan Media, DETROIT LIVES, Thrive Detroit and I Am Young Detroit.

“The Urban Innovation Exchange provides the Detroit Free Press an opportunity to better understand where small-scale transformation and social change are happening,” says Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson. “This insight will help inform our editorial efforts moving forward.”

"I'm delighted that the Urban Innovation Exchange will be partnering with HuffPost Detroit to tell the story of transformation going on in Detroit at the moment,” said Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. "There's no better time than now to double down on our coverage of those who are rising to meet Detroit's many challenges. The Urban Innovation Exchange will help those stories reach even more people – not only those who live in Detroit, but all those who care deeply about this great city's future."

“Detroit’s transformation will not result from one or two significant events but from literally thousands of small-scale efforts,” says Brian Boyle, co-founder of Issue Media Group. “Model D has been profiling these people and projects for the last half-decade, and we look forward to going one step further to create a network for learning and engagement.”

All of the data and information captured as part of the program will be analyzed by Data Driven Detroit to study characteristics and trends about this small-scale movement. “This initiative represents an opportunity to better understand the little things and individual leaders that play an important role in our city’s future,” says Kurt Metzger, Data Driven Detroit Executive Director.

Except from the Detroit Free Press:

Area home sales rose 9.6% in January. In the tri-county area, 4,002 homes were sold in January compared with 3,650 in January 2011, said Steve Bartley, whose company Advertising that Works in West Bloomfield collects the data from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

The average sales price was $119,325 in January compared with $126,199 a year ago. BUT when purchases by banks or companies are excluded such as foreclosures, the average sales price in January rose 2.1% to $122,177. Sales rose 11.5% to 3,065 from 2,748 in January 2011.

For January, Realcomp reported metro Detroit sales rose 7% for four counties -- Macomb, Oakland, Livingston and Wayne. It reported that 4,439 sales closed in January. And median sales prices, instead of the averages reported from the warranty deeds, rose 5.3% to $63,150 in January for those counties.

Atwater Brewery Is Expanding!

Atwater Brewery, Detroit's hometown craft beer brewery, has experienced exponential growth over the past several years and is investing in people and equipment to meet even stronger demand in the future. From its location in a 1919 warehouse in Detroit's Rivertown district, Atwater now produces more than a dozen styles of beer that meet the brewer's singular focus to produce the highest quality craft beers on the market. In 2011, Atwater's award winning brews achieved record production of 7,500 barrels, and Atwater expects to double production to 15,000 barrels in 2012 and double again to 30,000 barrels in 2013.

In January, Atwater took delivery of four new tanks that will enable it to significantly boost production to meet the sharply rising demand. Atwater has added 12 new Detroit-based employees, and hopes to add up to 25 more employees through 2015.

"We're ecstatic that our Atwater family of craft beers is winning new customers and being invited to the best parties," said Mark Rieth, the Michigander at the helm of the company since 2005. "In 2011, we weren't able to meet 50% of the orders we received. Now, we have the people, the facilities and the partnerships in place to meet demand and help put Detroit back on the national brewery map."

In the 1850s, Detroit had more production breweries than anywhere else in the country.

Brew Process:

In explaining Atwater's recent growth, Rieth points to Atwater's commitment to using the finest ingredients, brewed in industry-best equipment and managed by many of the best people in the business. Craft brewing, especially German Lagers, has long been a passion for Rieth. He first invested in the Atwater Brewery in 2002 and bought it out in 2005 with a renewed focus on brewing and distribution.

Atwater's four new tanks are expected to increase output by 400% over the 2011 levels. The new tanks join Atwater's existing equipment by Kaspar Schultz, a German company that is recognized as the world's best manufacturer of brewing equipment since 1677. Only four such machines are currently operating in North America. The Atwater brewery runs as much as 18 hours a day, six or seven days a week, producing award winning beer.

The best way to sample Atwater's distinctly fresh and flavorful brews locally is by visiting Atwater's tap room in the production facility itself. There, just a few feet from the brewing tanks, customers can taste Atwater's wide variety of beers, including its biggest seller, Dirty Blond, as well as its other lager, stout, ale, pilsner, porter, and specialty beer flavors that round out the product line.

How to put Atwater beer in your fridge:

Atwater brands are sold at Michigan retailers throughout the state. As the brands grow in popularity, Atwater has formed distribution agreements with select national chains and regional distributors. Through these relationships, and beyond the 60% of its product sold state-wide in Michigan, Atwater is finding customers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and New England.

Most of the Atwater beers are available in cans. "Cans are considered by many to be the preferred vessel for beer since they limit the access of air and light, both of which are detrimental to the precious liquid," said Rieth. "Cans also help us meet our environmental goals. They require less energy to produce and ship and also are more favorable from a recycling standpoint."

Resurrecting Detroit's Relevance as a brew town:

"We use a time tested German brewing process, but we strive to be authentically Detroit in both our flavors and approach. We are constantly perfecting our beer styles to reflect this heritage," said Rieth.

With its current facility humming, Atwater is planning to build a new, full-scale brewery in 2014. "We'd love to be in the same area [on Jos Campau in the Rivertown District], but whatever we do and wherever we are, we'll certainly keep our production and jobs here in Detroit," said Rieth.