What if there wasn’t a St. Patrick’s parade and everyone came anyway?
Revelers in one New Jersey city are planning to do just that.
Soon after the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade Committee cancelled this year’s march because of a dispute with Mayor Dawn Zimmer over safety concerns, efforts to party without the parade sprang up on the web.
The website for Hoboken Lepre-Con claims “You can cancel the parade, but you can’t cancel the party!!”
“In response to the cancellation of the annual Hoboken St Patrick’s Day parade, we are sponsoring the first annual Hoboken Lepre-Con,” the website’s message explains, citing the Christmas-time celebration of Santa-Con as inspiration.
“Dress up in full Leprechaun garb or other Irish festive gear and head over to Hoboken, NJ from 9am onward on Saturday March 3, 2012.”
Zimmer wanted the 26th annual parade moved to a Wednesday evening from the traditional first Saturday in March to discourage some antisocial behavior that has marred the parade day in recent years. Public drinking and lewd behavior have led to dozens of arrests and hundreds of citations issued on past parade days.
Rowdy house parties, many several blocks from the parade itself, have also become a common complaint among residents in the Mile-Square City on the Hudson River.
In a message posted on its website, the parade committee cited “the city of Hoboken’s inability to protect our spectators, bands and participants” as the reason the parade was cancelled.
“We chose not to go to court and not to continue to negotiate over the heavy-handedness of one person. The idea of marching in a parade, in the dark, on a week night, is as insulting as it is unreasonable,” the note continued.
The dispute between the mayor and the parade committee doesn’t seem to concern the people behind Lepre-Con.
“Over the next few weeks, we will coordinate with Hoboken’s local watering holes to ensure that they are well prepared to receive us and keep this tradition alive,” reads the website.
“Our event is also focusing on promoting the heritage of St. Patrick’s Day,” Lepre-Con marketing director, Jamie Darrah, wrote in an email. “We shouldn’t have a situation where city hall is dictating when people are allowed to have fun. Our intentions are also to organize an event, so it runs more smoothly and maybe it will even bring the parade back.”
Darrah wrote that there have been no communications between Lepre-Con organizers and Hoboken City Hall.
The Hoboken Lepre-Con Facebook page reports more than 3,000 people are attending the event. Nearly 7,000 have been invited through the social networking website.
Other Facebook pages, including “2012 NOT Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day Parade” and “Hoboken St. Pattys Day 2012,” also offer an invitation to party on the day the parade was to step off. The website PubCrawls.com is selling tickets for $1 and $2 for its “Luck of the Irish St. Patty’s Day Pub Crawl Hoboken” on March 3 and on St. Patrick’s Day itself.
The local website Hoboken411 posted: “Now that the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade has been canceled it seems we’re left off in possibly a WORSE position than we were previously: The same drunk mayhem, but with no tradition, parade or history!”
Zimmer said Hoboken will have a large police presence on March 3, when the parade would have been held, this according to the Jersey Journal newspaper.
The only official parade committee event will be a Mass honoring Saint Patrick on Saturday, February 25 at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church in Hoboken.