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Posts published in “St. Patrick’s Day”

Saint Patrick’s Parade Day in Dallas

Sunday March 17, 2019

Ask any neighborhood resident west of Central Expressway about St. Patrick’s Parade day and they will tell you that it is the day from hell. Why…?

The reason is because our neighborhoods are besieged with parade goers parking bumper to bumper on both sides of our narrow neighborhood streets. Our sidewalks are filled with parade pedestrians walking to and from the parade area all day long. Beer bottles, plastic cups, food wrappers, candy wrappers, and green beads get strewn everywhere in the sidewalks, our lawns, and in the street. As the day wears on, the more intoxicated of the hoards end up urinating in the alleys, our driveways, and even our front yards. Some vomit in the street, or anywhere they happen to be. The incessant booming car stereos, parade announcers, bar bands, and loud car engines continues all day long, well into the evening hours. And when these parade goers finally get back to their cars, they head out on our neighborhood streets and local highways intoxicated and dangerous to themselves and other drivers.

Now this event primarily benefits the parade organizers and the local businesses that line the parade route. It also primarily benefits the City of Dallas, as they get all the license fees and overrides on what parade fees are paid and tax revenues on what products, food, drinks, etc are sold. But neither the parade organizers nor the City of Dallas lifts a finger to help with crowd control, sanitation, traffic control, or police protection in the neighborhoods they send their parade goers into to park. They leave these neighborhoods to fend for themselves in terms of keeping their property and their families safe, and to clean-up for themselves the enormous mess of trash, vomit, and urine left behind the next day.

Oddly enough, the City of University Park does care about its residents, even though they stand to profit nothing from this parade event. The streets were patrolled often by University Park Police and citations issued when civil infractions were observed. But patrolling Dallas isn’t really their job, in spite of the fact that Dallas just wants to maximize their revenues and allow these parade organizers to maximize their profits.

I’ve lived in a lot of different cities, each with their own main parade days, and none of them ever turned their back on their residents during their events like Dallas has. First, they organized public transportation to and from their events. Second, they increased police patrol in areas adjacent to their events to help with crowd and traffic control, and keep things civil. Third, they provided clean-up crews and street sweepers early the next morning to make sure any messes were cleaned-up first thing. And many of their parade events involved several times more attendees than the 90 thousand estimated at this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade.

Bottom line is Saint Patrick’s Parade day is a plague upon our neighborhoods and our citizens. One there is no justification for. Not only does Dallas have but an insignificant percentage of citizens of Irish decent, but Saint Patrick himself wasn’t even Irish – he was British. He was born “Maewyn Succat” in the 4th century, but changed his name to “Patricius” after becoming a priest. And interestingly enough, Saint Patrick’s day in Ireland was born as a feast day in which bars were closed (no drinking). A far cry from how it is celebrated today. In fact, St. Patrick became a bishop shortly before his death, and is widely credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland. By the way, Saint Patrick’s original color was blue. It was only changed to green to link to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.

So why all the encouragement to drink ourselves silly on green beer? So we’ll spend a lot of money doing so, of course. And spending money makes a lot of businesses and the City of Dallas a lot of money. So next time you feel like dressing up in green, getting drunk, and trashing out your local neighborhoods, ask yourself if celebrating a phony holiday all about making others money is really worth it for you, or the right thing to do. Try instead to find reasons to celebrate in a responsible way that respects other people and pays homage to something worthy of your respect and consideration. Our nation is filled with a variety of people from varying nationalities and ethnicity. We could find a reason to celebrate Italian Day, Spanish Day, Polish Day, Scottish Day, African Day, Netherlands Day, and so forth. Let’s find good reasons to celebrate legitimate things, not manufactured holiday’s just to promote consumer spending.

Saint Patrick’s Day in Dallas

Sunday March 14, 2015

Online sources estimate St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival attendees to exceed 120,000 this year, all lining up in crowds along Greenville Avenue stretching between SMU Blvd and Blackwell Street (just south of Park Lane). Most people arrived by car, but Greenville Avenue was all sewn up with blockades. No provisions were made for parking or public transportation.

So where did all of the attendees end up parking? Most drove into the normally quiet and peaceful residential neighborhoods of Caruth Hills and University Park across Central Expressway to the west and parked along both sides of these neighborhood streets creating single lane passages for blocks and blocks. Did City organizers assign Police patrols to help with traffic congestion in these neighborhoods – no. In fact, not one resident reported seeing a single Police Officer in these neighborhoods the entire day. It seems all of the Police Officers were already assigned to Greenville Avenue to protect the event. What if emergency services such as fire or ambulance were needed at one of these street bound residences? No one seemed to care about that possibility.

So what was the major attraction for this event? The parade, sure. But mostly the beer. And the beer wound up everywhere! Not just at the parade, but strewn in discarded cans and cups throughout the neighborhoods where the celebrators parked as they returned to their cars. Leaflets where also strewn everywhere as vendors paid people to place their leaflets on every car they could, even cars parked in their own driveways on private property.

So what did the City organizers do to address clean-up of this enormous mess? Well for the shops along Greenville avenue, City workers will be cleaning that up as soon as the parade and festivities are over. As to the neighborhoods to the west that were set upon, that’s their problem. And what about the returning revelers that may have had too much to drink? That’s not the City’s problem either apparently. They haven’t done anything to protect the rest of us from drunken drivers. No police presence. No sobriety tests. After all, that would be bad for business, wouldn’t it?

So I guess the City will call this year’s celebration a huge success for the vendors and the City. The vendors made money and the City made tax dollars off of that money. And the City didn’t have to spend a dime on crowd control outside of the immediate Greenville Ave area. Nor did the City have to arrange for parking for anyone. Nor did the City have to worry about extending Police protection to the neighborhoods they caused to be invaded. Any finally the trash that wound up in these set upon neighborhoods is just that much less trash the City will have to clean up.

So, while we all look forward to next year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration here in Dallas let’s think about what this holiday really means to us. First, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was born in the 4th century in England to British parents. Second, less than 1% of Texans are Irish or of Irish decent. Third, the St. Patrick’s Day didn’t become a nationally recognized holiday in Ireland until 1903 (almost 1500 years after St. Patrick’s death). Fourth, the first St. Patrick Day holidays held in Ireland required all pubs to be closed during the holiday and no beer to be served – green or otherwise. It wasn’t until the 1970s that beer drinking during the holiday became part of the “tradition”.

So why is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated as such a big deal in Dallas? Because it makes vendors and the City money, even if it is at the expense of others that want nothing to do with it.

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