Jason Torres shouts his excitement at a previous Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival.

Jason Torres shouts his excitement at a previous Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival.

/Xiaomei Chen/Staff Photographer

This story has been updated to reflect new information for the 2018 St. Patrick's Parade and Festival.

Even the luckiest leprechaun could use some pointers before hoisting a pint at the Dallas St. Patrick's Parade & Festival down Greenville Avenue in Dallas. The parade is huge, see. And a big, Irish drinking affair. And a traffic nightmare.

Dallas St. Patrick's Parade and Festival

None of that should deter you from attending one of Dallas' best weekends of the year. Take these tips and meet us there:

The facts

The Dallas St. Patrick's Parade & Festival has been a tradition in Dallas for more than 35 years and is expected to draw about 125,000 people. The free parade, with more than 90 floats and 1,700 participants, begins March 17 at 11 a.m. on Greenville Avenue at Blackwell Street, then proceeds south on Greenville Avenue for 2 miles, ending at SMU Boulevard. 

The unspoken rules

 This parade is one of Dallas' biggest drinking events. Open containers are not allowed during Dallas' biggest day party of the year, but you can expect to see people drinking in public. Make your own judgment calls here.

How do I get to the parade? 

If you plan to drive, get there early. Greenville Avenue will be impassable by car and parking lots will fill up quickly. If your local train station has a commuter lot, consider DART-ing to the festivities. The stations closest to the action are on the Red Line: Lovers Lane Station (Upper Greenville near the parade) and Mockingbird Station (walking distance to both Lower and Upper Greenville). 

Fake your way into a Dallas house party on St. Patrick's Day

What do I wear? 

Green, duh.

What else do I bring?

A koozie for sweaty drinks. A disposable cup for on-the-go mixing. Sunscreen. Or an umbrella. (Check your forecast.) Comfy shoes for long walks between Greenville bars and house parties. Last year's beads.

Who's the grand marshal?

OK, maybe this isn't a question you'd actually ask. But we're gonna tell you anyway: Actor and Dallas native Burton Gilliam, who you might recognize from films such as Blazing Saddles, is the guest of honor. Last year, it was former Dallas police chief David Brown.

What is this I hear about a block party?

Lower Greenville Ave. St. Patrick's Day Block Party

The Greenville Commerce Association always throws one of the biggest parties on parade day. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the restaurants on Lower Greenville, from Vanderbilt Avenue to Vickery Boulevard, will have food and drink specials and three stages of music. This year's participants are the Dubliner, the Grape, Stan's Blue Note, Terilli's, Dodie's Reef, Halcyon, Slater's 50/50 and Blue Goose Cantina. Admission is $12 cash at the gate, 21 and up only. Free shuttles run every 10 minutes between the block party and the free parking lot at Mockingbird Station. Don't bring a backpack, purse or cooler.

What is this I hear about a beer festival?

One of the newer attractions to the St. Patrick's Day Parade is the Brew Fest. In 2018, it will pop-up in the parking lot at Office Depot (5111 Greenville Ave.) near the intersection of Lovers Lane and Greenville Avenue. Wylie's Good Neighbor Brews will be pouring five different beers, including O'Connell's Irish Red and Jackalope Stout. Attendees can enter the Brew Fest for free and pay individual beers.

After the parade, is the party over? 

No way. After you've collected your fair share of beads and swag from the floats, head south to Lower Greenville Avenue (that's the area past Mockingbird Lane) and join the rest of the party pedestrians going bar-to-bar. One option is the block party; see details on that above. Or, stop into a bar or restaurant such as Sundown at Granada or OT Tavern as you head south. If you'd rather hit up a house party, residents in Lower Greenville are known for hosting parties with an open invitation to meet new friends.

Who are there all these sweaty people in running clothes? 

The Dash Down Greenville 5K is held before the parade at 8:00 a.m. 

Matthew Kingore runs the final stretch during the St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5k in 2014. 

Matthew Kingore runs the final stretch during the St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5k in 2014. 

Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News
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