By Taryn Gillepsie
Fake Patty’s Day is a holiday to many Kansas college students, as a town usually cloaked in purple turns green for a day — at least in Aggieville.
It all started in Manhattan in 2007, because some students wanted to celebrate the traditional Saint Patrick’s Day holiday, that happens to land during the college’s Spring Break.
The students started celebrating the holiday on the Saturday before Saint Patrick’s Day. They called it “Fake Patty’s Day.”
The participants hung out in the Aggieville district in town, drank green beer, played yard games and dressed festively for the event.
The amount of participants grew rapidly each year and now the annual attendence is estimated at around 6,000 people.
Since students from all over Kansas take part in the event, some plan to meet up with old friends.
“I’m excited to get to see my hometown friends,”said Sydney Hough, Lakin.
Students from HCC participate in the event, even though it’s a two-hour drive.
Some Blue Dragons plan to take part in the festival in a few different ways. One group is attending a conference there during the time of the Patty’s Day event.
“I’m actually going to Manhattan for DCON (no, not the rat poison), which is a district conference with my fellow CKI (Circle K) members,” said Sahira Rojo, Hutchinson.
“And that’s how I heard about Fake Patty’s, because our trip is falling in with it.”
She and her friends are curious about Manhattan and the Fake Patty’s event, she said.
“I have never been to Manhattan, so that alone makes me excited,” Rojo said.
“I just want to see how crazy people get; to see what the hype is about.”
Dana Hinshaw, sponsor of the Circle K groups, will be with the group to Manhattan.
The students will have long days of conferences Friday and Saturday but will be allowed to go to Aggieville after hours, if they like. But they are fordidden to drink any alcoholic beverages, Hinshaw said.
Paige Rose, Salina, also is curious about the event.
“I’m going because I’ve never been before and it looks like a ton of fun,” Rose said.
Other students have enjoyed the party in previous years and are going back for more.
“Fake Patty’s Day is so much fun,” said Hadyn Penner, Ellsworth.
The event brings people from many walks of life to Manhattan for a few days. This boost in population for a short time helps bring money into the city, via motels, bars and other businesses.
Keeping students safe during the event is a main concern for the local police departments and businesses in the area.
Because of the amount of people expected to attend, the Riley County Police Department has asked for help from the Emporia, Hays and Junction City police departments, Kansas Highway Patrol, Lyon County Sheriff, and the Pottawatomie County Sheriff to maintain order during the event.
“Police at the event do a great job of keeping everyone under control,” Penner said.
“They make sure you are being safe and following the law and it should be a great time for everyone.”
Uber is set up in Manhattan to provide rides for anyone needing them.
The drivers are getting prepared, so there is no need for event participants to take chances such as driving while intoxicated.
To check out the Riley County Police Department and the applicable state laws and regulations, go to http://www.rileycountypolice.orgpublic-info/fake-pattys-day.