In my world, Christmastime means one thing – less than 3 months until the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I’ve already begun preparations – practicing my reel steps, shopping for uncomfortable sweaters, and learning how to say “The priests are eating eggs” in Gaeilge (thanks, Rosetta Stone).
Then last Thursday morning I opened up The New Haven Register (while eating a breakfast of eggs with my priest friends) and learned that the New Haven police department is planning a St. Patrick’s Day “crackdown.” For as long as I can remember, public drinking laws have been “unofficially” suspended on Parade Day, but Chief James Lewis says this year will be different. As St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland (even though post-glacial Ireland never had snakes), Chief Lewis is hoping to drive the drunks out of New Haven.
So when hundreds of thousands of people converge downtown March 14, there will be no U-Haul trucks with kegs or wagons filled with cases of beer allowed. Officers will be instructed to tell cooler-toting people to return them to their cars, Lewis said.
As for spectators who still insist on drinking, “There will be tickets written that day,” Lewis warned.
Personally, I always thought the reason that the police didn’t enforce public drinking laws on Parade Day was because they couldn’t. How can you enforce “no public drinking” when the public drinkers outnumber police officers 50 to 1? (Statistic completely made up.) What say you? What do you think of the “Great St. Patrick’s Day Parade Crackdown of 2010”?