DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will go on in Dallas rain or shine — as will the block party. Some 125,000 people are expected to attend, weather permitting, and handling a crowd of that size takes planning.
Crowd control barricades were up in some places before Noon Friday and portable toilets were being readied for the expected onslaught. People staging the event, the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association, report 125,000 revelers were on hand for the parade in 2013.
The Dallas Mavericks are the parade sponsor.
Parade organizers feel that every year the parade becomes more of a family-friendly event, rather than an excuse for public drunkenness, according to association chairman Kevin Vela.
“We definitely recognize that image and while we don’t want to infringe on anyone’s ability to have a good time, we’re just asking that they do that responsibly. But we really want this to be a family-friendly event. There’s no reason, we think, why you can’t do both.”
Breaking news events force constant re-evaluation. Thursday’s SWSX tragedy has prompted police to consider moving traffic barricades at strategic locations. And the Boston Marathon bombing has now put backpacks on the list of things not allowed.
“We have prohibited coolers, and dogs, and strollers and things of that nature in the past,” Dallas Police Central Division Chief Gary Tittle told reporters, “ but we have added backpacks to that list of prohibited items this year.”
Parade planners report there will be nearly 100 floats. The route runs down Greenville Avenue from Blackwell, near Park Lane, and south to Yale-SMU Boulevard. The parade steps off at 11:00 a.m. and is set to wrap up about 2:00 p.m. But that’s just one of the events — there are more.
Block parties along Lower Greenville will likely go on for hours after the parade. But storm clouds hang over Saturday’s event… possibly even tornadoes.
Chief Tittle said police will be monitoring the weather. “If anything comes out related to a warning or watch, and if we need to evacuate we will use our public announcement systems in our vehicles and our squad cars.”
“The parade goes on, rain or shine,” Vela told CBS 11 News. “Everything we’ve seen, we expect the inclement weather, very late in the day – five to six o’clock — and the parade will be wrapped up by 2 p.m. Most people will be gone by then. So for now we’re not planning on anything being different.” Wanting to be clear about priorities, he added, “Safety is the number one concern here and right after that we’re not leaving a mess for the city to clean up.”
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