Planning an upcoming trip to Dallas the weekend before St. Patrick's Day? You're in luck, as the Irish would say. Saturday, March 15, 2014, marks the 35th anniversary of the annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade and street party.
An annual tradition since 1979, the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade has humble roots as a way for the local community to pile into a few good ole Texan pickup trucks and head on down to the bar area to throw back a few cold ones with friends and neighbors on St. Patrick's Day. Since then, the parade has grown to 100 plus floats with attendance as high as 100,000 parade goers.
Party goers at St. Patrick's street party — Photo courtesy of St. Patrick's Day Parade at Dallas, Texas (Greenville Avenue)
The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade is simply one of Dallas' favorite events, one in which most Dallasites will have a story about. The parade itself - the largest in the Southwest - takes a slightly more irreverent approach than most, encouraging participants to come up with the wittiest and most outlandish costumes and themes. Think a lot of green wigs and creative ways to wear green short shorts. Visitors will have more fun if they wear something green, even if it's not a crazy outfit.
Parade watchers of all ages - yes, the parade is fun for families - line Greenville Avenue from the starting point at Blackwell (South of Park Lane), and then the fun continues all the way down to SMU Boulevard. Entertaining crowds in the past have been groups like the Patty O' Furniture Psycho Killer Drill Team, the tap-dancing grandmothers and leprechauns on Harleys.
Floats throw out beads and candy. And if you love people watching, this is the place for you!
After the parade, adults enjoy heading down to a blocked-off area of Lower Greenville, which is the setting for the daylong block party. Here, there's still plenty of Irish music and dance, not to mention green beer and other "Irish" food and drink at surrounding pubs and restaurants. When in the blocked off street area, party goers can visit a variety of bars and restaurants. If you want a table, though, go early.
Beside the street party, the local neighborhood - commonly referred to as the M Streets - hosts yard and house parties for their friends and family, though many of them will invite passersby to partake in a green beer with them.
Streets are blocked off for most of the day, so parking can be challenging. Take the DART train to Mockingbird Station to avoid traffic and parking.