Here's how Santa Cruz hotel threw a COVID-safe St. Patrick's Day party for eager guests

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- At Dreams Inn in Santa Cruz, the St. Patrick's Day mood almost felt like the days before the pandemic.

Plenty of drinks and dancing. A DJ, a live band. A festive mood.

The difference -- there was no crowd on the floor and every guest partied on their own balconies.

The Dreams Inn has billed the event, a 'vertical concert', a safe way to get people to watch live music again.

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"We've never been so excited to offer something so unique during this whole pandemic," said Dan Smart, director of sales and marketing at the hotel.

For one of the guests, Carol Gilardi, the chance to leave the house, attend the event and spend time safely with friends was enough to make her cry.

"Today does feel like a new beginning. I feel like I can breathe," she said.

Gilardi had to shut down her salon last year.

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"We were closed down for six months," she said, adding that losing her salon family was devastating.

Ticket sales for the concert prove people are ready to get their social life back, nearly every room was booked, the prices ranging from about $300 - $900.

For Gilardi, attending the event meant savoring every moment and reminding herself, how much she's earned it.

"Today to have a good time, it's a really big deal because it's been a full year and I've only been allowed to work three months the whole year."

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