Fake Patty’s 2013 could be accurately described in one word: wet. Well, that, or muggy.
Everything was just slightly damp and a bit bedraggled, but revelers were hard put to let it faze them.
For Kansas State University students, celebrating Fake Patty’s is a rite of passage. You buy an overpriced green T-shirt with some cheeky reference to getting drunk, drink festive green beer and wait in line to fit yourself into a crowded bar where countless other people are doing the same thing.
Somehow, though, I managed to avoid properly celebrating this “holiday” while a student at K-State or since. Don’t get me wrong, there was the one time I ventured down with a couple of friends for about an hour in the early evening one year and that other time I made it so far as buying a green T-shirt but then didn’t actually go out.
Each time, I thought to myself, “You’re doing this wrong.”
So this year, it was my goal to arrive in Aggieville before noon and really witness how it’s done.
Of course, it rained—not very hard, sure, but a steady drizzle. It started early in the morning and continued on and off throughout the day, which for me started to the sounds of people making their way down to Aggieville, yelling “Woo!” at passing cars.
Those strangers were the more hardy of the celebrants, out and about at 9 a.m. Since I live within walking distance of Aggieville, I heard several of these groups in passing.
But eating breakfast food during actual breakfast hours isn’t really my cup of tea, so I’ll admit to skipping any “Kegs and Eggs” specials Saturday. Still, with a couple of friends in tow, we arrived in Aggieville a bit before noon. Vendors with food were just setting up, and loud music could be heard coming from several bars.
The first order of business was purchasing a green shirt. Most people do this prior to the actual day, but I like to keep things exciting. Every store in Aggieville that sells Fake Patty’s shirts was open throughout the day — lucky for us procrastinators, of which there were quite a few.
A lot of the styles had already been rummaged through or were unavailable in my size, but that didn’t stop me from being picky, and anything with expletives or trashy slogans were nixed as I’m not a 20-year-old boy.
All I really wanted was a simple “Fake Patty’s 2013,” emblazoned across the front but I guess those sold out. So, running out of options, I settled on a simple T-shirt with, “I (shamrock) Irish Guys,” printed on the front. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, and neither was my boyfriend, who is of German descent.
Aggieville wasn’t particularly crowded right then, and only a few bars had lines to enter. That isn’t to say some people weren’t already drunk, because they were. A man was already getting thrown out of Johnny Kaw’s for fighting, and a visibly upset woman was being ticketed for an alcohol violation.
I wonder if they went home and bragged to their friends that their day ended before 1 p.m. Luckily for us, though, our day had basically just begun, and I knew I needed to try some green beer before it was over.
“Try” probably isn’t the best word, as it’s just normal beer that’s been colored green, and who hasn’t had Coors Light? So really, I just wanted to hold some green beer and look festive.
By 2 p.m., we were sitting in Auntie Mae’s dark lower level with said beer and found ourselves ordering a Fake Patty’s special: the green tarantula, a mix of several liquors in the vein of a Long Island iced tea. A stranger approached our table asking us to sign the Fake Patty’s T-shirt he had made as part of a bet with friends—the person with the most signatures won—while the table next to us giggled as they played a game where they progressively said a dirty word louder and louder until they were shouting it. (The person who is least embarrassed wins.)
It was a different scene on the streets by the time we left the bar at about 3 p.m. The sun was out and so were the crowds. Judging by how young so many of the revelers looked, I’d guess quite a few were freshly 21 — or at least that’s what their fake IDs said.
Earlier in the day, I met three guys from Wichita who were celebrating for their first time. One of them, Nick Schmeidler, had traveled from Indiana, where he is a student at the University of Notre Dame, while the other two, Jake Elpers and Tanner Cluck, are students at Wichita State University.
They had a veteran, Josh Glaser, also a student at Wichita State, in their midst to guide them. Glaser said it was his third year attending, and I admit I had a bit of shirt envy—“Fake Patty’s Day: The Midwest’s premiere fake holiday,” it read.
When I asked what the best game plan for celebrating the day is, he said, “Fake Patty’s is a do-what-you-want kind of day.”
And by 3 p.m., I had pretty much done what I wanted. I’ll leave the all-day drinking to those with a stronger stomach and less regard for their livers.