This year mark's the 55th Anniversary if the Scranton St. Patrick's Parade, a momentous event that brings tens-of-thousands of people to Downtown Scranton each year. Scranton boasts the 2nd largest St. Patrick's Parade in the country, per capita next to Savannah, Georgia. This family friendly event often gets a bad rap from some people who have a negative perception that comes from a minority of Parade goers who don not know how to celebrate properly. These individuals set forth on Parade day with one misdirected goal in mind... To get drunk... tsk, tsk, tsk.
The reports of bar fights and people throwing-up or urinating in the streets all too often overshadow the enumerable highlights of the day. The net result is that too many people keep their families from going because they believe that their children will be subjected to this behavior, but I digress, I will get back to this issue later in the blog.
I submit to anyone whose goal is to ‘get drunk’ on Parade Day that they know nothing about the spirit of the day, a day to celebrate culture & heritage, to come together as a community, to visit with old friends, and make new friends.. Getting drunk is really easy, just slam down a bunch of shots and voilà, you’re a mess. I personally have spent many-a-year celebrating the Scranton Parade; from my youth, to my teenage years, to a wild college student, to a young professional, then as a bar owner, and now also as a Father.
Here is what I can tell you from those experiences:
I have so many great memories as a youth; Up on dad’s shoulders watching the marching bands, endless floats, Shriners in their little cars, dancers, green bagels, the Bagpipers, and much more. In my teenage year’s, at an arms reach from my parents, hanging out with friends, blowing on our Vuvuzela horns, snacking out, and comparing to see who was dressed the greenest. As an older teenager, roaming the downtown, nowhere near my parent’s, meeting up with friends, making new friends, grabbing lunch at a local sandwich shop, pretending to be too cool to watch the parade, but still in aww of the festivities. To my college years (the learning curve years), well… uhhh… ehhh hmmm…
Next, to my seasoned veteran Parade goer years (post college), It was at this point I got a handle on how to find balance in my Parade Day celebrating. Now pay attention, because this is a tried and true recipe for a partiers guide to enjoying and making the most of Parade Day.
First, start your morning with a hardy breakfast. Fill up that belly because you have a long day ahead of you. Mixing a cocktail (maybe a mimosa or Bloody Mary) with breakfast is acceptable. Once you have a good base in the belly, its off to the bars, but make sure you do some research ahead of time to find out the specials, deals, music, and events that are planned at the local venues. Assuming that you got started around 9 :00a.m., you should probably take a break from drinking by no later than 12 :00p.m., because 3 hours of straight partying is enough for anyone. You need rest. Hso head to a restaurant (not one that serves alcohol, mine was always Coney Island Texas Wieners on Lackawanna Ave) and grab yourself some food, the greasier the better (or so I’m told). Drink plenty of water, not only at your break, but throughout the day. After lunch, watch the Parade for at least another ½ hour.r, Aafter all it’s called Parade Day and a lot of people work really hard to make it happen. By this time, you should be feeling refreshed and recharged, so plan out your next destination and have some more fun. Enjoy the lLive music and the happy crowds, and be courteous as you travel between venues, remember there are families trying to enjoy the day who may not appreciate foolish behavior. Keep a positive attitude, andfor example, don’t get upset if someone bumps in to you, consider it an accident, or that the person didn’t read this blogpost, so they probably got too drunk to notice their clumsiness. Brush it off, because you are out for a good time and don’t allow anything to bring you down. Finally, “‘don’t lose your wits, know when to call it quits”’. Pay attention to your body, and realize when you have had enough. It should go without saying, NEVER get behind the wheel of a vehicle after a day like this.
Now that I am a bar owner I fully realize all of the hard work and effort that goes into producing this one day. My partners and I are especially appreciative of the Parade Committee who makes this event possible. It is a remarkable undertaking and no doubt takes 100s if not 1,000s of hours to coordinate and prepare the day. The net result of those efforts is a big win for the entire city. Of course this day is important for us as a bar owner in downtown Scranton, but lest we forget the benefits to the entire hospitality industry. The hotels, restaurants, vendors, shop owners, and more all benefit from this vibrant event. It brings commerce to the city like few other events could. It helps sustain the local businesses, which helps create jobs, which helps our tax base, and so on.
Most importantly it helps bring the community together.
This all brings me to my current status, as a Father of a young boy. At last year’s Parade I snuck out of work at the bar and joined my wife and son (almost 2 years old at the time) to watch the Parade. The joy on his face as he saw the fire trucks, marching bands, unique floats, and animals, and more, all brings me back to my youth and how much fun I had. So, I want to circle back to a statement I made in the first paragraph, “too many people keep their families from going because they believe that their children will be subjected to this behavior (drunken & disorderly)”. Maybe its just me, but I don’t have memories of that nonsense from my youth, my parents may, but I was too busy enjoying the parade to notice the absurd behavior of the few. As my wife, and other family members, prepare to attend this year’s parade with my Son we remain conscious of the location where we will set up to watch the Parade. We will look for a location where we can plant ourselves in a spot on the Parade route that is not close to a bar and/or on a route between bars. This will also, apply to the location where my wife will park her car. I hope these tips can allow any parent, who may be contemplating not taking their kids to the parade, feel more at ease.
St. Patrick’s day Parade is a tremendous event for the city of Scranton. It helps to bring the community together and celebrates the heritage for one of the many great cultures that has helped to build and shape this city into one of the most resilient, diverse, & eElectric Citiey’s in the Northeast.
I’d like to end
with a toast:
“Promote what you Love instead of bashing what you hate and may good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam.” -Unknown
April 1st: Coconut Macaroon Day!
April 1, 2016
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