Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
See what you need to know to navigate through the more than 100,000 people expected along Greenville Avenue for the annual Dallas St. Patrick's Day parade.
More than 100,000 people are expected along Greenville Avenue for the 34th annual Dallas St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday, March 16, 2013.
"We're expecting over 100,000 people. We got close to 90-some floats, and now we call them floats, back in the days we called them entries cause some were cars or like pickup trucks and things," said Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade and Fesitval organizer Jorge Levy. "The weather is going to be perfect you know, so we're expecting a huge weekend."
Here's what you need to know to survive the crowds ... and your own drinking habits.
RE-ROUTING: The parade begins at 11 a.m. and travels south on Greenville Avenue. It begins at Wellons Drive and ends at SMU Boulevard (that's right WELLONS DRIVE pay no attention to parade's official Facebook page which says Wellon Street -- Wellon Street can not be found on any map). South and northbound traffic Greenville Avenue will be closed starting at 9 a.m. and will reopen no later than 4 p.m. after the parade. (click here for map from City of Dallas) While there will be plenty of police and signage to make sure you don't run into a float, trying to drive around the area will be an exercise in patience. Re-route significantly if you're just passing through the area to avoid the traffic or head out as early as 7 a.m. to find a legal parking spot and a good place to watch the parade.
PRIME PARKING: Hitting the parade after-party on Lower Greenville? Parking is, and has always been, the scourge of Lower Grenville, so pay extremely close attention to posted signs -- temporary no parking signs have already gone up in the area and resident parking only signs are posted in neighborhood areas (click here for map from City of Dallas that shows areas were no parking will be allowed). Carpooling is a great idea for parking reasons, but it's not the only option -- there are other ways to get to the festivities, including DART (this makes for a nice transition ...).
FORGET THE CAR: If you live in Dallas, do the rest of the Metroplex a favor and don't drive to the party. Jumping on a DART train to Mockingbird Station or Lovers Lane Station are convenient and easy ways to make sure you're not taking up parking space, nor drinking and driving. Shuttles to the party will be available at DART's Mockingbird Station (click here for more information on DART's St. Patrick's Day plans). Taxi stands will also be posted on Greenville Avenue at the conclusion of the event. Click here for DART Rider Alerts
DRINK RESPONSIBLY: No alcohol can be brought to the event area, and Dallas police will be enforcing all city ordinances, such as 6-6.1, which addresses public consumption of alcohol, especially outside the designated area of the block party. As in years past, officers will exercise some discretion with enforcement, but don't push your luck of the Irish.
PARTY AFTER THE PARADE: This ain't no "watch and leave" parade -- Lower Greenville businesses, restaurants, bars, and music venues will all be ready for the day-long party. 15,000 are expected for the block party that runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nearby bars stay open until 2 a.m. Click here for list of events
IT'S SHOW TIME: Starting at noon in the Energy Square parking lot (corner of Greenville and University), the Dallas Observer and House of Blues Entertainment will present a 21-and-up concert headlined by Snoop Dogg. Sorry folks, according to TicketFly.com (click here) the concert is sold out.
PSA -- DRINK SOME WATER:
Green-tinted beer might be in-season for the party, but don't forget to sip something other than spirits. The temperatures are expected to be in the low 80s so remember to avoid getting dehydrated. Bring cash to buy bottled water from the street vendors or bring your own.
DON'T FORGET TO TOAST MARK CUBAN: Don't forget sometime during the parade or after-party to raise a glass to toast Mark Cuban, after all, he once again tossed his considerable financial supported behind the parade, to the tune of $50,000 according to DallasNews.com. CHEERS TO YOU MR. CUBAN, again!
Going to the party? Send in your photos of the event to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll highlight the best in a gallery and on the air!