Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Dallas is getting ready to play host to 100,000 revelers with the annual St. Patrick's Day parade and party along Lower Greenville.
More than 100,000 people are expected for Lower Greenville's annual St. Paddy's Day festivities on Saturday, March 17, 2012. Here's what you need to know to survive the crowds ... and your own drinking habits.
RE-ROUTING: The parade travels south on Greenville Avenue (beginning at Blackwell Street) between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Southbound traffic will be shut down from Blackwell Street to SMU Boulevard at 9 a.m. and northbound traffic will be shut down at 10 a.m. 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: Parking is 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. Dallas Police say parking on the grass on the frontage road of Central Expressway is prohibited. 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. Taxi stands will also be posted on Greenville Avenue at the conclusion of the event. Click here for DART Rider Alerts
TAILGATING DOs AND DON'Ts: No overnight camping or sleeping in parking lots will be allowed, and you can not leave a vehicle unattended in a parking lot to reserve spaces. Don't even think about loading up your propane or butane grills, charcoal grilling is allowed for tailgating as long as you have a fire extinguisher on hand. Also forget setting up a spontaneous stage, band or DJ in the area with your group of friends, Dallas police say you need a special events permit to play amplified music in private or public parking lots.
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. From 9 a.m. to approximately 8 p.m., Greenville Avenue, at the 2900 block, will be closed to cars so revelers can walk (or stumble) across the street.
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 concert headlined by Ryan Binghham & the Dead Horses (he wrote music for the 2010 film Crazy Heart). Local southern rockers Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights, Whiskey Myers, Whiskey Folk Ramblers and Hunter Hendrickson will play before Bingham's 4:45 p.m. start time. Tickets range from $10-$12. For more information CLICK HERE.
Additionally, the Granada Theater will have live music all-day long on the patio, complete with a great $5 menu with beef or black bean tacos and BBQ brisket sandwiches. Band of Skulls, We are Augustines and The Commotion take the stage starting at 8 p.m. Sundown at Granada will also have a patio party. Three Reggae bands will play on the roof-top (if it rains festivities move inside). Doors open at noon, live music begins at 12:30 p.m. with the Effinays, Melody Memory starts at 2:30 p.m. and Basic 5 at 4:30 p.m. For more information CLICK HERE.
PSA -- WATER YOU WAITING FOR?:
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 high 70s 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 without support, in the way of $40,000, there wouldn't be a parade this year. The Mavericks owner wrote the check because he killed a whole bunch of brain cells, and wanted you to have the same chance and in his words --- "You just can't let a Dallas tradition like that die." CHEERS TO YOU MR. CUBAN!
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!