Fake Patty’s Day draws large crowd despite rain

Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Fake Patty’s Day revelers do the “YMCA” in Kite’s Bar and Grill on Saturday. Green-clad visitors came to Manhattan from all over the nation.

Gloomy weather conditions did not stop a sea of green from covering the streets of Aggieville on Saturday as students, citizens and even tourists from all over the United States gathered together for the annual Fake Patty’s Day celebration. Fake Patty’s Day is an event mainly concentrated around Aggieville, in which students find their inner Irish, slap on some green and celebrate the “fake” holiday through a day of drinking and socializing.

Despite the rain throughout the day, there was once again a large turnout of people who convened in Aggieville to enjoy green drinks, promotions, T-shirt giveaways and other activities that went on during the day.

“We’re emphasizing a lot on green drinks,” said Christian Fazel, senior in social sciences and general manager of Tubby’s Sports Bar. “There’s green beer, green pints, green ice and green jello shots for people to enjoy.”

The rain did affect the business for the outdoor vendors, but for people visiting from out of town, like Valerie Harris, resident of Goodland, Kan., the rain did not stop her, and instead added an Irish flair.

“The rain didn’t affect me because I actually like rain,” Harris said. “Also, since it rains a lot in Ireland, it kind of brought more of an Irish feel to Manhattan.”

The loss suffered by the K-State men’s basketball team earlier in the day dampened spirits somewhat, but KU’s loss to Baylor later that night and the Wildcats’ split share of the Big 12 Conference title raised morale once again.

“People went crazy when they found out KU lost,” said Tyler Nelson, senior in marketing. “You could hear Big 12 champs chants everywhere.”

The Fake Patty’s Day event began years ago when K-State started scheduling spring break over St. Patrick’s Day. Students had the idea to create a fake holiday that would happen the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day so that students would be able to celebrate a day of drinking with all of their fellow college mates in town.

“The grassroots of this event came from the student body with no Aggieville participation,” said Tim Fitzgerald, president of the Aggieville Business Administration. “It definitely grew faster than anyone could imagine.”

Fitzgerald is the publisher of Powercat Illustrated and GoPowercat.com, but as the main office has been located in Aggieville for a few years he has gained intimate knowledge of the fake holiday.

“At first it was a little unreal,” Fitzgerald said. “It … was definitely a shock to the system to see how big it was.”

In recent years, this event has gained national and, on occasion, global attention as tourists from all over the U.S. visit the Little Apple to experience the event.

“I remembered seeing a guy from Ireland coming to see what Fake Patty’s was all about,” Fitzgerald said.

With this much attention, bar owners and workers expect a huge crowd in Aggieville throughout the whole day.

“We’re ‘one in one out’ the whole day,” Fazel said. “It’ll be crazy the whole day.”

The attendance during Fake Patty’s Day has actually caused some problems for bars in the past when it comes to fire codes.

“We had to have our occupancy adjusted last year as well as get insurance,” Fazel said. “This is where the concept of wristbands came from.”

Last year, some bars started implementing wristbands to help control population flow as well as gain some extra profit, though profit is not normally a concern when it comes to this event. Fake Patty’s Day is one of the highest revenue days that Aggieville has throughout the year.

“Bars usually make the equivalent of two college football gamedays in one,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s good to have something like this in March.”

Bartenders and waitresses also take advantage of the increased patronage.

“It was actually pretty fun working the whole day,” said Shelby Lueckenotto, junior in graphic design and waitress at Pat’s Blue Rib’N BBQ. “I made about $300 just in tips.”

This year, as in the past, the Riley County Police Department brought in help from forces outside the city area to help regulate the crowd and to keep people safe. In past years, the number of citations during this event has been significantly higher than that of an average Saturday, but that number, while still high, has slowly declined with each passing year, while the number of arrests has risen. As of press time, RCPD had explicitly stated that they will not release information regarding incidents and arrests from Fake Patty’s Day until Monday.

“The police are more proactive this year than they were last year,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s pretty good since they have more of an understanding of the event now.”

Whether you support the event or not, Fitzgerald said he believes that Fake Patty’s Day is great for Aggieville and great for K-State.

“In a way, Fake Patty’s Day is somewhat of a homecoming to young alumni,” Fitzgerald said. “As long people stay lawful, it’s a great event, and it helps the businesses at Aggieville, because this event is quite significant to their bottom line.”