I remember my first Parade Day like it was yesterday. Well, the first three hours at least. After that, it’s a blur of burritos and accidentally walking into people. You know things are going well when a woman grabs her child to avoid you.
Every year, underage kids from across this great state come to New Haven to appropriate Irish culture in order to drink their faces off in the streets of New Haven. And somewhere in there, there’s a parade, I think.
But you can learn from my mistakes! You can be better. And tell that “Greatest Generation” to go shove it.
Let’s do this.
Don’t Pay Cover More Than Once
Every bar is going to have a $10 cover. I know, it’s totally ridiculous. But what’re you gonna do? Carry a keg of beer on you and whistle innocently while the cops walk by? This isn’t a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Pick your bar ahead of time. You don’t want to be paying cover at three or four bars. Find out where your friends are gonna be. Don’t show up at Christy’s, pay cover, spend 25 minutes trying to get a drink, and then realize all your friends are at Trinity.
(We’re actually at a house party.)
Know Where Your Bathrooms Are
This is pretty much why you pay cover. The last thing you want to do is end up on a Port-a-Pottie on the Green. Believe me. There are some things you cannot unsee.
But what if you’re far away from a bar you already paid cover at? And you need to go now?
You can do what many young men do and just pee wherever you want, social graces be damned. I mean, who doesn’t want a fun little public exposure charge, right? I’m sure your parole officer will think that’s hilarious.
Here’s a map of the 2015 parade toilets. Probably 2017 will be similar? I can’t find a map, but.. hey, how much does Bathroom Placement evolve, year to year?
Or you can use mine for the low low price of 8.95. As long as you’re nice to my cat.
Eat Something. Anything.
If you’re gonna start drinking at 9 am (and you should), you should be aware that you’re going to want to eat something to pad all that booze. It doesn’t even really matter what. Go ahead and get some street meat.
The last thing you want to do is black out by 11 am and do something we’re all going to regret.
Know Why You’re Here
As my buddy (and New Haven regular) Frank notes, many people love to pretend to be Irish (he calls it “plastic”), but few respect the culture and history of the Irish people.
So let’s take a few moments to remember that this is an Irish Catholic holiday to celebrate St. Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes (seriously),
Also, keep in mind, all those Irish bartenders you know and love? Many of them left their homes and have struggled long and hard to make it here, and while it’s fun to be all “look how drunk I can get, I’m Irish!”, remember that as a people, they have suffered many famines and hardships as well.
It’s a lot easier to get drunk in the street than it is to face the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum.
Sure, you can’t blame bars for opening up and making a ton of money on Parade Day, but at least try to understand a culture before you totally appropriate it for beer pong.
The Parade Starts at 1:30…
In case you were curious.
… There Aren’t Any Floats.
It’s mostly just a bunch of people walking. I think sometimes there’s people dressed up like Star Wars. Did you know that every 1 out of 1000 Irish children is actually born a Jedi?
It’s Going To be Super Crowded
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Haven is the largest single gathering of people in Connecticut. I don’t know what that says about us. I guess we’re a pretty Irish state, as far as states go.
Trinity estimates they’ll get 2-4,000 people in. FOUR THOUSAND PEOPLE.
I don’t know about you, but I have pretty mixed feelings about going ass-to-crotch with a bunch of complete strangers. Very… very mixed feelings.
Just be ready. Emotionally, physically. Grab your earplugs.
Public Drinking Is Still Illegal
I know, I know. I like drinking in public as much as the next guy. Maybe even a little moreso.
But the police absolutely enforce public drinking laws on Parade Day. Nobody gets a pass. I mean, unless you’re super cute, like all other laws.
If you accidentally pour some Bailey’s into your coffee thermos, nobody will know. Or if, say, someone spiked your Gatorade with vodka, that would be sort of a victimless crime.
But that red solo cup ain’t fooling anybody. Don’t be an amateur.
Have fun and don’t break anything