Do you plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March 17?

Steve Frost, ThinkStock

Many New Jersey towns and cities have already started celebrating by holding their yearly parades, and St. Patrick's Day specials have been on the menu for weeks at area pubs. In fact, the Irish holiday brings in big bucks for retailers across the U.S.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates 127 million Americans will spend an average of $36.52 on green clothing, festive food and more, compared to $35.78 last year. Total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $4.6 billion.

"Consumers are ready to shed their winter blues and welcome spring's arrival with St. Patrick's Day celebrations," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF, in a press release emailed on March 4. "Falling at the perfect time of year, just as temperatures begin to rise, retailers are hoping St. Patrick's Day will also draw the attention of those looking for traditional spring merchandise as consumers take the opportunity to stock up for warm months ahead with home improvement, garden and apparel purchases."

In celebration of the holiday, people plan to cut loose with their friends and family this year. According to the survey, 29.2 percent, or 37 million Americans, will celebrate the holiday at a bar or restaurant and 19 percent, or 24 million, will attend a private party. About 30 percent will make a special dinner to commemorate the holiday.

"From potatoes to cabbage to corned beef, St. Patrick's Day is our biggest day of the year by far. We order more than 2,000 pounds of corned beef just for the week. Guinness is the most consumed beverage that day. We'll go through about 10 kegs," said Barry O'Donovan, owner of The Kilkenny House in Cranford. "In a normal week, we would go through between 300 and 400 pounds of corned beef and four to six kegs of Guinness."

Of course, The Kilkenny House is famous for its Kilkenny beer, which is a Smithwicks ale with less hops that is poured like a Guinness. "There are only three pubs in New Jersey that have it and we are one of them," O'Donovan said.

According to WalletHub's St. Patrick's Day By the Numbers report:

  • Cabbage shipments during St. Patrick's week increase 70 percent;
  • 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide on St. Patrick's Day;
  • 82.4 percent of celebrators plan to wear green;
  • $1.258 million is them market value of a leprechaun's pot of gold, which contains 1,000 gold coins weighing one ounce each;
  • Hallmark has 100 varieties of St. Patrick's Day cards;
  • 33.3 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry;
  • 10 to 15 percent of those living in New Jersey claim Irish ancestry;
  • The median income for Irish-American households is $60,967 compared to $52,250 for all households;
  • There are 16 places in the U.S. named Dublin.

Michael McGeough owns Dubh Linn Square in Bordentown where corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips and shephard's pie will be a hot item.

"We have Irish fare all year-round, but we definitely sell more corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day than at any other time during the year. We'll also be serving plenty of Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp, Murphy's Irish Stout and an Irish cider called Magners."

And while St. Patrick's Day is typically a fun celebration, the Irish holiday can be especially dangerous for drivers.  According to WalletHub, it ranks fourth among the most popular drinking days, behind New Year's Eve, Christmas and the Fourth of July.