Partying on St. Patrick's Day is a rite of passage for Dallasites. It's not for the faint of heart or those above acting a fool, for a little while, in D-FW. You will be sweaty. You will be sticky. Your shoes will be covered in soot and there's a good chance your clothes will be stained with green beer. That's why you wear a costume in the first place. Hides all the weird stains.
The drinking day starts for most around 11 a.m. when the annual parade kicks off at the intersection of Greenville Avenue and Blackwell Street. More than 125,000 are expected to line the sidewalks of the Greenville neighborhood. You cheer, scream and catch candy tossed from around 100 floats for about hour, but what happens when it's noon and your day has just begun?
Refuel at a local watering hole -- we suggest a hearty, calorific pit stop -- and begin an epic quest through the M Streets for more fun. Many neighboring houses throw parties that last throughout the afternoon and evening. While it certainly helps to know someone, if you're without a formal invite, you wouldn't be the first to ... erm ... make new friends on this drinkiest of holidays.
Come bearing gifts
Surely, you weren't planning on party hopping without at least a six-pack of delicious beverages tucked under your arm. Seriously, turn back toward Greenville and make a quick stop.
It doesn't have to be anything too fancy: Pulling up to an afternoon house party with Lone Star or PBR is perfectly acceptable, but at least consider a bomber of the good stuff. You can trade it as a peace offering in the event that things get awkward.
Do the wave
Detour off of Greenville and scan houses along the surrounding streets. Spot a promising social gathering just ahead? If you're approaching a bustling party with action in medias res on the lawn, walk up confidently, offer a hearty hello to the first person you see and (in the same motion) wave wildly over his or her shoulder. There's obviously no need to actually know the object of your over-the-top greeting. Just establish to the gatekeeper that you totally belong.
Masquerading on the M-Streets
It's not a great idea to approach a home in Texas with your face covered -- in fact, do not do this -- but, once you're in, take advantage of the oversize rubber Leprechaun mask or the ridiculous blinking fedora you impulse bought last minute at Party City. It's one of the few days of the year when it's entirely socially acceptable for adults to look like complete weirdos, and that's to your advantage.
Identify and avoid
Use your best sleuthing skills to quickly ascertain exactly who lives at the house in question. This person is usually carrying around platters of those cheese cream roll up things or cleaning up spills and, unfortunately, having slightly less fun than everyone else. Don't make eye contact or -- and this is very important -- if you do, immediately offer to help. See the next tip...
The ol' fake friend
Oh, you've moved around to the back patio and you're partying now. Don't get too comfortable! Say you're making friendly conversation with the guy who is filling glasses at the keg -- there's always that guy, we'll call him the Kegmaster. He casually asks how you heard about the party. How you got there. Who the hell, exactly, are you?
"Me? I went to college with Dave MacLane. You know Dave? You gotta meet Dave. I'll go find him and introduce you..."
Get weird, but not dangerous
You don't have to be on your "best behavior" on St. Patrick's Day, but keep in mind that it's a perfect storm for a seriously bad time.
- Pace yourself: If you choose to imbibe all day, as many do, be aware of limitations and do not surpass them. Have your ride home planned ahead of time.
- Don't make a mess: Whether it's tracking in mud, knocking over knick-knacks or losing your lunch, just don't do it. You're on someone's private property; have some respect.
- Don't overstay your welcome: Party thinning out? Crowd seeming a bit intimate? Unless you've been explicitly asked to stick around, know when it's time to make a graceful exit.
- Socialize and meet people: So, maybe you crashed this party for some free guacamole and Jell-o shooters. That's cool, but it's also a good idea to get to know someone. Maybe it will be your ticket to an actual invite to their primo patio next year. Or, maybe just a hilarious story. Either way, it never hurts to be nice.