SCRANTON — Officials in Scranton say record crowds filled the streets for the St. Patrick’s Parade on Saturday and police say this year’s parade may have set another record too: a record low for arrests.
According to some early estimations more than 100,000 people were in downtown Scranton to watch the St. Patrick’s Parade or to take part in other activities.
Simon Hewson, general manager of Kildare’s Irish Pub said the parking lot was filled with about 5,000 people enjoying a brew or two during Saturday’s parade.
“It was a sea of humanity. From 9 a.m. we had a line out the gate. Once 9 a.m. came and we let people in, it filled up,” said Hewson.
Though he thinks this year was his busiest parade day yet, Hewson also thinks it was his quietest when it comes to trouble. He says on parade day customers aren’t always on their best behavior but this year they really were. And he thinks that’s because bar owners now work closely with law enforcement.
“Obviously, it’s our busiest day of the year, but at the same time we understand that the cops have a job to do too.”
Police say they also had one of their smoothest parade days ever. They made 37 arrests and that’s down by about half and they think there’s a specific reason for that. Many bar owners in Scranton agreed to open at 9 a.m. instead of the traditional 7 a.m., an idea that Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola had a few years ago. He thinks it’s now paying dividends.
“This particular year, in light of the number of people, in light of the number of families that I saw that were viewing the parade and participating in the parade, it was a great day. I’m happy to say that the numbers are really down this year. It’s a good thing.”
Jarbola hopes that arrest numbers continue on a downward decline and that parade day gets back to the family-friendly event that it’s meant to be.