Quick: St. Patrick’s Day and Sundown in the City – What do they have in Common?

Bronze Guy on Market Square, Knoxville, March 2012

They might have more in common than you might think by the time the evening winds down. The front page of the News Sentinel on Friday carried a big article about the fact that Sundown in the City is no more – then Saturday night we tried our very Knoxville best to duplicate all the reasons we ended Sundown. More on Sundown in a later post, but on Saturday I decided to wade into the melee and find out what this Irish celebration is really all about.

Friends out for a night on the Square, Knoxville, March 2012

Crowd for Ian Thomas, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Knoxville

First on Market Square I ran into our very own bronze statue guy! I don’t remember seeing him before and we felt like such a grown up city for a second or two! The crowd was fun and growing. People walked about in their subtle and not-so-subtle green outfits chugging green beer from very large souvenir glasses like one might expect in Las Vegas or New Orleans. Look at us drink like the big city!

Ian Thomas, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square Stage, Knoxville

Yes, we are men and we wear dresses. What?

Ian Thomas, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square Stage, Knoxville 

Ian Thomas had the early shift on the Market Square stage and, as I’ve said before, brings to the stage one of the best country voices in the city. The crowd had started to build. You can judge for yourself from the photograph, but I would guess around 2,000 were paying attention and the patios of every establishment around the square was packed and waiting lists were building.

Ian Thomas, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square Stage, Knoxville 

Boyd’s Jig and Reel, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Knoxville

After Ian’s set I walked to the Old City where a Pub Crawl was building. I stopped by Urban Bar and Grill which I will discuss further in a subsequent post. As you might expect on such a night, the crowds were large all around the Old City and particularly at Boyd’s Jig and Reel. It appeared there was a line of people waiting outside who were waiting to be admitted as others left because the space was at capacity.

Crowne and Goose, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Knoxville

Crowne and Goose, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Knoxville 

I walked down Central Street toward the Crowne and Goose which is, of course, a English pub, but found the same situation there: They could let no one in until someone left. I don’t remember seeing this in Knoxville and this was the second spot on the block and it wasn’t the last place I saw it that night.

Cutthroat Shamrock, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square, Knoxville

Crowd for Cutthroat Shamrock, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Knoxville

Cutthroat Shamrock, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square, Knoxville 

Back on Market Square to listening to some of Cutthroat Shamrock‘s set, I found and found the crowd had swollen tremendously. I’m guessing six to seven thousand were slamming around to the sounds of the Irish-punk band. I tried to get into Blue Coast Burrito to take a picture of the crowd from their Margarita Loft and – you guessed it – they were not admitting anyone due to over-crowding.

Cutthroat Shamrock, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square, Knoxville 
Cutthroat Shamrock, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square, Knoxville 

  

Cutthroat Shamrock, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square, Knoxville 

The band worked the increasingly drunken crowd and as I wandered through them toward Union Avenue, I wondered how different this crowd and event really was from Sundown in the City. Roaming teenagers dropped off by parents? Check. Drunken crowds stumbling about? Check. Jamming Music? Too large a crowd for the space? Check. Sure, they wore more green and a larger portion of the men wore skirts, but otherwise, I’m not seeing much difference.

Revelers on Market Square, St. Patrick’s Day 2012

Senior Revelers, St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Market Square, Knoxville 

Prettiest Irish Girl of the Night!

It was fun, it was festive, but by the time they stumbled home, well, many of them stumbled. I drank a cup of coffee at Coffee and Chocolate and watched them slowly fade into the night. It was a fun night and I hope everyone got home safely. I can’t imagine it was any more appealing to the merchants who are happy Sundown ended.

It was good people watching for me and I hope you enjoyed the pictures, as well.

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