DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When Irish eyes are smiling, most of Greenville Avenue is smiling too.
“It’s a big, big shot in the arm for all of the merchants down here,” explained Steve Betzelberger, who is president of the Greenville Commerce Association.
Bar and restaurant employees spent most of Friday preparing Greenville Avenue for arguably Dallas’ biggest party of the year.
The parade nearly fell through the cracks. A month ago, organizers still needed $40,000 to cover expenses. Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban stepped in and picked up the tab.
Now that the parade is off life-support, many residents have a new appreciation for one of Dallas’ landmark events. Combine that with perfect temperatures and the fact that this year’s event actually falls on St. Patrick’s Day, police and businesses are preparing for record crowds.
“This is the biggest event in my whole career,” declared Dodie’s owner Chris McGuinness.
Once the parade ends, nearly 30,000 revelers will squeeze into a six-block stretch of Lower Greenville for the annual St. Pat’s Block Party. Many bars and restaurants expect to break record sales, but they’re also spending thousands of dollars on security, barricades and portable bathrooms.
“We need to make sure that we don’t get overwhelmed,” McGuinness said.
Dallas police says it will have 150 officers for traffic and crowd control at the parade and 59 officers for the block party. Another 42 officers will conduct neighborhood patrols while the block party rages on.
Neighbors near Greenville Avenue are also preparing for the festivities by putting up green on their homes and adding red and white “no parking” signs to their lawns.
And while they may be able to keep the cars at bay, other problems are bound to come their way. “I’ve never had people pass out in my yard, but I’ve had bottles, cans, articles of clothing,” said Greenville Avenue neighbor, Melissa Knight.
There will be some changes to the annual block party. The event is being expanded a block on each side to accomadate larger crowds. The party will also run until 6:30 at night; a full hour longer than previous years, because the event now falls during daylight savings time.
Want to hit the parade and the block party and leave your car at home? The DART rail’s Red Line or Blue Line can take revelers to Mockingbird Station. The Red Line also goes to Park Lane or Lovers Lane stations.
From an official DART release:
In additional to regularly scheduled Saturday service, DART Rail trains from Parker Road Station to West End Station will be available approximately every 10-15 minutes between 8:25 a.m. and 1:05 p.m. Additional train service will terminate at Victory and Bachman stations. After 1:05 p.m., regular southbound Red Line Saturday service will be available.Seven DART Rail trains from Bachman Station to Parker Road Station will operate between 7:23 a.m. and 8:53 a.m., with service approximately every 10-20 minutes. These trains will display Orange signs. Three of these trips will begin service at North Carrollton/Frankford Station. Departures times from North Carrollton/Frankford are 7:11 a.m., 7:46 a.m. and 8:11 a.m.Additional trips from Victory Station to Parker Road Station will be available approximately every 10-20 minutes between 9:34 a.m. and 11:34 a.m. The last trip from Victory Station to Parker Road Station departs at 12:04 p.m.Post-parade, Green Line passengers can ride Red or Blue line trains to downtown Dallas to transfer to a Green Line train.