Wednesday, March 14, 2012 , Updated 4:03 p.m., March 14, 2012
UPDATED: How to be smart and still have fun at Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade
You may be surprised to know drinking is not permitted on the sidelines of the parade.
It may come as a shock, but drinking alcohol in an open container is prohibited during the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day parade, according to the Dallas Police Department. The rules don't change for Dallas' biggest day party of the year, despite the fact that open-container drinking by sideline parade-goers is commonplace among the 100,000 attendees.
“When we've been out there watching the parade, we've seen drinking. It's a tailgate party,” said Burt Zinser, a resident of the M Streets in Dallas and president of the Glencoe Park Neighborhood Association.
Given widespread Jell-O shot slinging and tall boy sipping, you'd think a special permit was in place to allow the tens of thousands of parade spectators to consume beverages if over the age of 21.
Not so, according to Scott Walton, lieutenant of police. The same city ordinances apply on Saturday, March 17 as apply on most other days of the year, and that includes no open-container alcohol consumption.
But, police seem to be focused on security, traffic control, and more serious issues that may arise during the parade. Last year's focus was on house parties. “We're going to take action to ensure that everybody has an enjoyable time,” Walton said. “There are a lot of people out there, and we do have to use officer discretion to make sure that everything goes well.” About 150 police officers are assigned to the parade this year, according to a memo from Dallas City Councilmember Angela Hunt. Several more shifts of officers are slated for the block party midday on Saturday and again later on Saturday, when bars on Lower Greenville can get rowdy.
At last year's St. Patrick's Day Parade, of the 100,000 attendees, police made three public intoxication arrests and reported four injuries, all alcohol-related. The biggest citations given during the parade were for parking: 132 of those. To find where you can (or more likely, where you can't) park for the parade, consult this city of Dallas map.
The larger citations last year were issued as the evening bore on: Six were arrested for public intoxication, two for DWI, and 21 for consumption.
If anyone with an open container of alcohol is cited by police during the parade (and isn't found on other charges), the penalty is a Class C violation, the lowest citation, Walton said.
We're issuing this swift bit of advice: The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade has long been a Dallas tradition rooted in cheering and chugging. Drink responsibly, walk safely, and – for us – don't ruin this big drinking party for anyone next year.
UPDATE: This just in: A pop-up food truck park will be set up on the future Trader Joe's site on Lower Greenville on Saturday, March 17. (That's also the site of the someday-soon food truck trailer park.)
The pop-up park opens at 2 p.m. and features food from Nammi, Cane Rosso, Easy Slider, Trailercakes, and Ruthie's Rolling Cafe.
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