ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — St. Patrick’s Day revelers are expected to drop a collective $6.9 billion on holiday celebrations this year, a full $1 billion more than last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

In Rockford, Don Crawford took his family to an annual dinner at Murphy’s Pub and Grill, at 510 S Perryville Road, for the fifth year in a row.

“Basically, we’re here for an annual event for our family that has been a tradition for probably fifty-some years now, and it started with my grandmother who was 100 percent Irish,” he said.

Crawford said the money is well spent.

“I get an opportunity to see some cousins and relatives that I don’t really get to see a whole lot through the whole entire year, so this is kinda important,” he said.

Cassidy Campbell, who was also dining at Murphy’s, said she loves Irish culture, including the decorations, corned beef and cabbage, and the entertainment.

“It’s not every day you get to see bag pipes and tap dancers and all the Irish jigs, so I think that’s going to be really cool,” she said.

Murphy’s staff said that even with inflation, the celebration would be worth the investment.

Manager Maja Wares said, “Last year, St. Patrick’s Day landed on a Thursday, so knowing it was on a Friday this year, we already got extra prepared and ordered more. On top of that, with the prices of everything going up, we definitely spent more this year, all in good fun.”

Crawford said he was just happy to be able to keep the tradition alive.

“This is kind of awesome. It is really great to see this and [see] so many people celebrating the same thing that we are,” he said.

According to the National Retail Federation, each person spends between $43 and $84 on St. Patrick’s Day.