Last updated on March 23, 2019
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.