St. Patrick’s Day in Five Points

5 Points green with anticipation

mlucas@thestate.comMarch 16, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    Five Points’ annual street party starts at 9 a.m. Everything ends at 6 p.m.

    The run: Get to the Green 5k and 10k start at 7:30 a.m.

    The parade: Unofficial festival kickoff begins at 10 a.m. and snakes from Dreher High School down Devine Street into the village.

    The children’s area at MLK Park opens at 10 a.m.

    Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at gate

    Parking: Take a shuttle. Please. They run every 20 minutes starting at 8 a.m. from Capital City Stadium and from behind the Koger Center. A third shuttle starts at 11 a.m. (after the parade) from the King Street side of Hand Middle School. No food, beverages, backpacks, coolers or containers.

    Getting home: Checker Yellow Cab and the Five Points Association will pay the first $10 of cab fare to a home or hotel.

    If you’re driving: Heads up: Columbia police will operate a checkpoint on and off all weekend somewhere near Gervais and Harden streets to curb collisions and DUIs.

    Don’t be trashy: Recycle. Put it in a bin.

    Confused? Want the lineup for the bands? Visit thestate.com for the ultimate guide to the party.

— Deanna Wright and her cousin Anna Wright of Columbia thought they would venture down to Five Points on Friday night – before the beer flowed and the streets became jammed with people.

“(We’re here) definitely to avoid the crowds,” said Deanna Wright, laughing.

The two were out taking a leisurely stroll Friday night along Saluda Avenue with their three children – Samiyah, 7, Jamarie, 8 and Justice, 16 – in tow.

The family had already enjoyed pizza from Pop’s NY Pizza along Harden Street and had purchased a turkey leg and funnel cake from a street vendor nearby. And while they all said they were enjoying their night out together, the group was not planning to return Saturday for the area’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival.

“It’s something different,” said Deanna Wright, explaining that the two hailed from the small town of Ehrhardt. “We’re not used to all this, so we just thought we’d come out tonight.”

While Saturday’s annual celebration of all things Irish might be the biggest day of the year for Five Points, in years past, the night before has started to become something of a party itself. Call it a preview or a mini-festival, but whatever you call it, it was evident that something was in the air Friday.

Street vendors, already chopping onions and flipping sausages on the grill, had begun setting up early while spectators were out wandering the streets in small groups or families.

Whitney and Caroline Keen, from Camden, seemed to be mirroring the Wrights. The two had been out enjoying dinner with their two children and a friend of their children’s and had come down to Five Points to pick up a race registration.

Whitney Keen was planning to return to Five Points on Saturday morning to run the 10K. But the rest of the family was planning to stay home.

“We debated coming out after, but it’s a just a mob,” he said. “It’s hard with children their age.” The children range in age from 9 to 13 making them a bit too old for the children’s carnival and a bit too young for bands, he said.

But one group out for a sneak peek Friday night was planning on returning the next day. Utivia Barnes, Aungelique Lee, Brenda Campbell and Maya Williams had walked down from Benedict College, where the three are students.

“We’ve been talking about this for the last month,” Campbell said.

The women were excited to find vendors already selling funnel cakes and were taking in the sights and smells – already.

“The food is like sooo ...,” said Williams as she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “I know,” said Barnes. “We have got to go home and get our green on.”

Reach Lucas

at (803) 771-8657.

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