Friday, March 14, 2014

Totally Texas -- Going all out for the green

Once a rowdy stagger down aptly named Greenville Avenue, in this, its thirty-fifth year, the annual St. Patrick’s parade is all grown up. Rebranded as Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival, it’s become a family friendly way to spend the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.

This year, that’s tomorrow, March 15, starting at 11 a.m. The parade travels south on Greenville Avenue starting at Blackwell (a block behind HalfPrice Books) to the finish line at SMU/Yale Boulevard.

Thanks to sponsorship by the Dallas Mavericks, the 2014 event, as befits the “festival” addition to its name, will include a family area outside the Meadows Building between Milton Street and University Avenue. Kids, maybe even adults if we’re good enough, can get our faces painted, meet Mavericks’ mascots and cheerleaders, play games, and catch performances by the dancing Mavs ManiAACs during the festival’s 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. hours while watching the parade’s array of floats, bands, strolling and skateboarding participants. I predict even a Weather Channel forecast of scattered thunderstorms Saturday won’t be able to dampen parade goers’ spirits.

And of course, there’s beer, although that last option is only available for grownups. From my observations, Dallas police develop seasonal blindness to displays of public drinking during the parade. But let’s be responsible, and place our empty bottles, cans and cups in the numerous trash containers along the parade route.

One thing we won’t be able to do on parade day is cross Greenville Avenue or any of the adjoining streets along the parade route after 10 a.m. Maybe not even earlier. And most of us won’t be able to drive. Not because of the beer, but because all available parking lots will be filled hours before hand.

If we’re lucky enough, like me, to live within a mile of the parade, we’ll put on our walking shoes. Otherwise, our best bet is to take DART. The DART light rail stations at Lovers Lane and Park Lane deposit parade goers on the west side of Greenville Avenue where we get the closest view of the parade. It’s actually possible to get good overhead views of the parade simply by riding DART back and forth between the stations, making sure to get window seats facing Greenville. If you’re coming from the east side of Greenville.

The Lovers Lane station is within a convenient block of the Meadows Building, site of the family area, which includes food trucks and, yes, a beer garden.

Take the family, take an umbrella if necessary, and wear green. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Can’t wait till Saturday for the weekend? Try the free spring break block party along Flora Street in downtown Dallas, tonight, March 14. It combines events at the Dallas Museum of Art until 9 p.m. and at the Nasher Sculpture Center and Crow Collection of Asian Art from 6 p.m. until midnight. For more information, see “What I did on my spring break” at this site,, and

(Next Friday -- follow Tyler’s Azalea and Wildflower Trail)

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