*Story updated Saturday after business owners came together to announce Fake Patty’s Day was cancelled
Aggieville remains open for business, but no longer are bars going to be offering promotions or wrist band for Fake Patty’s Day amid concerns for the spread of coronavirus.
The annual event brings thousands into the district for a celebration, outside the traditional St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Most of the event-goers are college students, some from K-State, others from other parts of Kansas, some from out of state.
Aggieville Business Association Executive Director Dennis Cook told KMAN Saturday that they didn’t have 100 percent agreement among business owners, but were nearly unanimous, as a means to protect public health.
“We are cancelling Fake Patty’s Day but open for regular business at regular hours,” he said.
That means no blocked off streets, no bars opening early and no tie-ins like green beer. The event had come under scrutiny Friday, after Cook appeared on the KMAN Morning Show Friday saying they had no plans to close bars. Many in the community, including government leaders felt it could jeopardize some of the social distancing efforts underway to help prevent the spread of illness.
Since there is no legal basis for the City of Manhattan to step in and force a cancellation, Aggieville businesses are taking the responsibility into their own hands. As of Saturday afternoon bars like Tubby’s and others announced they would not offer Fake Patty’s Day related events. Saturday, March 21 instead will be business as usual.
“From a business standpoint, Fake Patty’s Day is a non-event event. It’s a day to come and celebrate. There are 18 venues participating so you don’t have a cluster of people. At this point we don’t even know if we’ll have students in town,” Cook said during a Friday appearance on KMAN.
A K-State Collegian editorial Friday calling on Aggieville businesses to cancel Fake Patty’s Day in the interest of public health read: “Crowding into bars is probably one of the worst things you can do when preventing the spread of a pandemic — short of maybe licking hand railings in public places and not washing your hands.”
Cook says even though they won’t have Fake Patty’s Day as usual, he and business owners continue to urge the public to be patriotic and that Aggieville remains open for business.
Original story 3 p.m. Friday – Aggieville businesses won’t voluntarily shut down Fake Patty’s Day; Aggieville open for business
The annual Fake Patty’s Day celebration will go on as scheduled March 21, though it’s unclear how many participants the Aggieville bars will actually see.
The event has no formal organization as it’s not a city, K-State or Aggieville function per se, though the Aggieville Business Association has tried to claim the day as its own in an effort to keep people congregated to the district over the last few years. But a major concern has been social distancing advocated by state and local government officials recently to mitigate the potential spread of the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus.
Aggieville Business Association Executive Director Dennis Cook says businesses are taking extra steps to ensure proper cleanliness, but won’t be closing bars.
“The normal precautions are out there. Everybody knows what the capacities are. They know all the rules and regulations they’ve got to live by. It’s basically come down and celebrate and be with friends and if you don’t, stay home,” he said.
There is no legal basis for the City of Manhattan to shut down Fake Patty’s Day, so the event will largely be up to individuals taking responsibility into their own hands.
“From a business standpoint, Fake Patty’s Day is a non-event event. It’s a day to come and celebrate. There are 18 venues participating so you don’t have a cluster of people. At this point we don’t even know if we’ll have students in town,” Cook said.
Cook says they’re anticipating less revenues going forward amid not only the social distancing, but lack of events like March Madness to bring in patrons.
“Everybody’s going to take a hit. The ripple effect of this through the economy, even in a place like Manhattan, is going to be devastating,” he said.
Cook went on to say that he urges patrons to be patriotic and that Aggieville remains open for business.
The Manhattan City Commission on Thursday revoked permits for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities over the weekend including the annual parade and races.
Most community events in and around Manhattan during the month of March are either postponed or cancelled.