Fake Patty’s Day questions await answers

Douglas Stigge

By A Contributor

The weekend of March 10 will be this year’s rendition of Fake Patty’s Day. Much has been said and written about this event, which evolved from an Aggieville Business Association-sponsored St. Patrick’s Day event that usually occurred on a Saturday when the Kansas State University students were gone on spring break.

We now have at least two community events a week apart associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Fake Patty’s Day has resulted in numerous problems for the community.  New ordinances have been passed for the safety of the community year-round but appear particularly aimed at curtailing Fake Patty’s Day. We are informed that all laws will be strictly enforced on Fake Patty’s Day.  All those efforts, especially by the police and fire departments, are appreciated by this lifelong community member and Aggieville business owner.

One thing I cannot support is the Aggieville Business Association’s decision to sponsor an event called “Green Break” that will occur simultaneously with Fake Patty’s Day this year.  This Green Break was first presented at the last Aggieville Business Association meeting on Feb. 7 as a way for there to be sidewalk vending of food and retail items this year, a non-alcohol alternative to Fake Patty’s Day.

I understand that the Aggieville Business Association was under some pressure to come up with a responsible effort to address Fake Patty’s Day.  An honest effort this might be, but in my opinion it totally misses the mark for doing anything to make Fake Patty’s Day more responsible. It tacitly supports what Fake Patty’s Day has become, and it does little or nothing to address the negative impact Fake Patty’s Day has on the numerous service businesses in Aggieville. The Aggieville Business Association is trying to justify an event that has no justification.

Since this Green Break promotion was made solely by the Aggieville Business Association board without opportunity for member input, I see no other option but to state that as an Aggieville Business Association member, I do not approve of this decision and I do not want to be associated with it. I do so understanding that we are operating under a new relationship between the city, the Aggieville Business Association and Aggieville business owners with the latest fee ordinance regarding the Aggieville Business Improvement District. This statement comes after discussions with the Aggieville Business Association board left me with the impression that its intent is to continue to facilitate Fake Patty’s Day more as it is rather than end it or replace it with something more responsible to our community. This is not the direction I think the Aggieville Business Association or the community should be taking.

My suggestion — given last year to both the City Commission and the Aggieville Business Association — remains for Fake Patty’s Day to return to just one Aggieville Business Association-sponsored event with a race and parade as has been done for 30-plus years.

I think the Aggieville Business Association needs to work with the community and with Kansas State University to schedule and organize this one St. Patrick’s event on a Saturday when K-State students are not on spring break so it is a complete and hopefully responsible community event. I do hope that the efforts of this past year will lead to a safer and more responsible Fake Patty’s Day this year. I have noticed less promotion of Fake Patty’s Day this year, so maybe the right message is beginning to be heard. However, I suspect that when this year’s event is over, we will be continuing to have community and Aggieville Business Association member discussions next year.

Questions will likely remain. Who remains responsible for this? Does profiting at our neighbor’s expense outweigh our responsibility to our neighbor? What message are we sending to our young people, our future leaders? Will the love of money continue to make our community tolerate something we all know is wrong?

Dr. Douglas Stigge, an optometrist and longtime resident, has an office at 1202 Moro St.

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