Do St. Paddy's Day parade signs serve as a warning or a dare in Philly?
Are these signs "Like waving a red cape before a bull?"
The signs materialized on poles and light fixtures up and down Market Street this week, putting Philadelphians on notice that they better "Enjoy the 248th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade RESPONSIBLY!"
No need to shout, we hear you! But whether the people of Philly will listen is a whole other story.
We fear that those who posted the signs may not have helped their cause by outlining exactly what they will have "ZERO" tolerance for during Sunday's Parade: public drunkenness, underage drinking, disorderly persons/conduct and public urination.
As Phil Gianficaro, columnist with The Intelligencer in Doylestown, noted, these signs may not serve as a deterrent. Instead, they might be "Like waving a red cape before a bull."
Philly has always been a city of rebels, dating back to 1776 when men from across the colonies gathered here to put those smarmy Brits on notice that they weren't the boss of us anymore.
Our city's reputation as a town of rebels and you-can't-tell-us-what-we-can't-doers only grew after the Eagles' Super Bowl run and win this year. When police greased poles across the city with Crisco prior to the NFC Championship game, many seemed to take the grease as a dare and climbed the poles anyway after the Eagles won.
Even when authorities upped their game and used hydraulic fluid to grease the poles in Philly prior to the Super Bowl, the pole climbers kept climbing.
Listen, we know the majority of Philadelphians are fun and responsible people who are pretty good at adulting and it's only a few cotton-headed ninny muggins who give the city a black eye. But we can't help but fear signs such as these serve the opposite of their intended purpose.
As one Facebook user who posted a picture of the sign to a Philly neighborhood group noted: "This is essentially like a schedule of events."
>> READ MORE: What to do in Philadelphia on St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day Parade director Michael Bradley Jr. said he was surprised to see the signs "plastered all over the place" this week. While the St. Patrick's Day Observance Association, which organizes the parade, is credited at the bottom of the signs, they did not put them up, Bradley said. He said the signs were hung by the city, the police and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, who told him they had used similar signs in the past for the Manayunk bike race.
"We're 100-percent in support of it but we don't think they had to put 'public urination' on it," he said of the signs.
Organizers do not allow any drinking at the parade, but last year there were issues with underage teens drinking along the route, Bradley said. Still, he expects attendees at this year's parade, which begins at 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard at 11:15 a.m. (don't forget Daylight Savings Time), to be well-behaved, for the most part.
"There's always a few knuckleheads. If you get 50,000 to 100,000 people together three people are doing to do something stupid and unfortunately, that's what makes the national news," he said. "We do everything we can to discourage drinking but we can't control the crowd."
Police declined to say if more officers would be deployed during the parade to crack down on the offenses noted in the sign.