Aggieville Business Association will no longer organize, promote Fake Patty’s Day

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After 13 years of celebrating Fake Patty's Day, the Aggieville Business Association is no longer promoting the event. (Archive photo by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

After 13 years of coordinating an unofficial holiday, the Aggieville Business Association will no longer contribute efforts to Fake Patty’s Day.

Dennis Cook, executive director of Aggieville Business Association, said he can’t tell anybody not to celebrate in Aggieville, but the association will not be organizing anything.

Bars in the business district can still do anything they like to promote Fake Patty’s Day, but ABA is not involved, Cook said.

“We are not going to ask the city to close the streets, we’re not going to coordinate anything and they’re just going to be on their own,” Cook said.

Wynn Butler, mayor of Manhattan, said he is happy that Fake Patty’s Day is no longer promoted.

“One of the main reasons that Aggieville Business District is not pushing it is because they weren’t really making that much money, and two, they were getting a black eye,” Butler said.

Butler was elected for the first time in Apr. 2011, just a month after Fake Patty’s Day.

“[There] was this huge outcry because we had all kinds of incidents,” Butler said. “So, the next year one of the first things we did was put the fire department down there to enforce occupancy.”

Citizens from Manhattan and surrounding areas come to Aggieville to celebrate Fake Patty's Day with their family and friends. With games, food, and music, there are plenty of things to keep people coming. (Archive photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)
Citizens from Manhattan and surrounding areas come to Aggieville to celebrate Fake Patty's Day with their family and friends. With games, food, and music, there are plenty of things to keep people coming. (Archive photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Cook said Aggieville businesses that didn’t benefit from the event, such as coffee shops and barbers, would close for the day on Fake Patty’s Day.

“Aggieville is approximately 100 businesses, and everybody who can really benefit out of Fake Patty’s Day is about 12 or 13 businesses,” Cook said.

The evolution of Fake Patty’s Day started in 2007 when Kansas State students couldn’t celebrate Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day race and parade because of spring break.

“Some bar people got together and said, ‘Maybe we could have one more big weekend out of this,'” Cook said. “Between some bar owners way back then and some students, the idea got hot about how we could do a ‘Fake’ Patty’s Day.”

Drew Barlette, former program director of KSDB, worked alongside Patrick Atchity and Aaron Leiker to brainstorm the idea of Fake Patty’s Day. Atchity worked at Tubby’s at the time and talked to the owner about working with them.

“That first year we put together a schedule where we went to all sponsoring bars throughout the day and did t-shirt giveaways at each one on the hour,” Barlette said. “It was pretty fun, but nothing big or well-organized the first year. The next year we did it again and the bars themselves got more involved. It really just blew up from there into the event that you know of today.”

Barlette said the city and police refused to acknowledge it was an actual event for the first few years, even though it was being promoted throughout the Manhattan area.

“[RCPD] pretended that it was just some flash mob and refused to have extra security in Aggieville and that’s why it ended up getting so out-of-hand, and so much of the community now hates it,” Barlette said.

Chris Swick, program director for Z96.3 KACZ and B104.7 KXBZ, was a junior in journalism and mass communications and news director for Wildcat 91.9 at the time of the first Fake Patty’s Day.

Swick said he would talk about it on-air, run pre-produced liners and promos to hype-up the event. In 2009, the station heard about people coming from Lawrence and as far away as Arizona.

“That’s really when it started to morph into what it became known for, with stories of drunk people passed out in random yards and the eventual need for an increase in police presence,” Swick said.

Police officers talk with Fake Patty's Day goers during Fake Patty's Day celebration in Aggieville on Mar. 7, 2015. (Archive photo by Cassandra Nguyen |  Collegian Media Group)
Police officers talk with Fake Patty's Day goers during Fake Patty's Day celebration in Aggieville on Mar. 7, 2015. (Archive photo by Cassandra Nguyen | Collegian Media Group)

“I don’t think [Fake Patty’s Day] will entirely go away, either with a bar still running it, or students holding house parties under the umbrella,” Swick said. “But as a massive event, I do think its time has passed.”

Cook said they are working on other events this year that will be more inclusive of the community, including the Aggieville Showdown on Apr. 17.

“We hope to attract a wider range of people,” Cook said. “The only people who would show up in Aggieville [for Fake Patty’s Day] are those participants, and everyone else stayed on their porches.”

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