St. Patrick's Day celebrations underway in Traverse City

Racers in the 2014 Leapin' Leprechaun 5k take off from the starting line.

Hundreds of runners and walkers flooded Traverse City's Warehouse District Saturday to "paint the town green" for the 2014 Leapin' Leprechaun 5k.

Participants decked themselves, and in some cases their pets, out in green and Irish-themed costumes in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, which is Monday, March 17th.

Portions of the proceeds from the Leapin' Leprechaun race go toward the Cherry Festival Foundation and the Father Fred Foundation. The National Cherry Festival runs the Leapin' Leprechaun, and organizers say that it's a unique 5k.

"It's about health and wellness, too," said Michelle Elliott, the Business Development Manager for the National Cherry Festival and race director. "So, we've got a lot of cherry products, National Cherry Festival, we like to bring that in and incorporate that into our race, but this race, actually, a portion of the proceeds benefits the Father Fred Foundation and the Cherry Festival Foundation, and it also helps fund our internship program. So, we get about six to eight interns every year that help out with the National Cherry Festival and this is what we use to fund that, so we get people from all across the U.S."

The St. Patrick's Day preparation activities continued into the afternoon with the Guinness Post-Race Party and Hibernian Saint Patrick's Day Parade through downtown Traverse City. The post-race party included a beer tent, live music from Billy String and Don Julin, and award presentations for the race's top finishers, as well as the best Irish costume for people and dogs.