There’s an old joke about the Irish that goes like this: How do you get an Irishman up on a roof? Answer: You tell him “the drinks are on the house.”
We might need to retool that two-liner in light of recent eyebrow-raising events surrounding Roanoke’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Shamrock Festival, which this year is March 16.
A handful of rock ‘n’ roll and pop bands have been added to the festival lineup, replacing some (but not all) of the Celtic musicians who’ve been the wildly successful festival’s mainstay for years.
In other words, it will be not as Irish as before, part of an effort by the event’s new management, Downtown Roanoke Inc., to broaden its appeal.
This raises a number of questions. The first is, “Why attempt to broaden it?” Last year’s parade and festival drew 20,000 or so people. Is it even possible to squeeze any more people downtown?
Another is, “For what else should we attempt to broaden the appeal, and how?”
Because unlike St. Patrick’s Day — which over the years has grown from a puny parade into the biggest downtown celebration of all — there are other events that could easily handle increased attendance.
Some wags around town have been having a field day with such prospects.
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