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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Corktown Celebration

Corktown.  Detroit's oldest existing neighborhood, named after the County Cork in Ireland because of the exuberant amount of Irish immigrants that lived there, throws one amazing party/parade/celebration every year the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day.  This year it was held on March 15th and I was able to partake in the festivities thanks to some very rad people.

12 noon

I had finished teaching my lessons for the day and was headed back to my apartment in Royal Oak when one of my friends, who also lives in Royal Oak, texts me and says he's going to downtown Detroit for some sort of parade.  He knows someone that is tailgating for the party and thinks it will be a good time.  So I get the okay from the fiance and agree to attend this pre-St. Patrick's day tailgate and parade.  Little did I know what this sunny afternoon would bring.  


I meet him at his place and we ride together into downtown.  When we finally find a spot in a vacant grassy lot we have already witnessed crowds of St. Paddy's Day revelers wearing their green and enjoying some sort of libation in the middle of the streets.  Now it's time to find his friends and start sipping some beers.  We start walking down Michigan Ave. toward downtown along the parade route.  We find out that our tailgate is located at Rosa Parks and Michigan on the Northeast corner.  Quickly, we cross Michigan Ave. in between high school marching bands that are part of the parade.  Finally we find the tailgate and are instantly offered a beer and introduced to numerous people whose names I had no chance to remember.  

The start of the day, a few beers at the parade

I end up texting another friend that lives downtown.  He is at the celebration as well but is in a different location, Slows BBQ, which is down the road from us.  More from him and the great Slows BBQ, later.


After a few beers from the keg (no they were not green) and standing around, the parade ends and people start to head to the bar.  Our tailgate party splits up and we go with some folks to a bar down the road called Hoots on the Ave.  There we get in instantly and head straight to the facilities where you have to wait longer to pee than to get a beer.  I ponder staying in line until I get to the front and then selling my space or "cuts" to make some cash, but decide to drink some more beer instead.  

At Hoots there really know what they're doing and have green beer on tap.  It's just Miller Lite with food coloring but that's not the point.  It's the novelty of it that I enjoy.


After Hoots we head north, across the I-75 foot bridge, to Nancy Whiskey's, a great bar located inside of a house like the one you rented in college.  At first we head in to the house and upstairs where it looks like a house party.  Next door is the real bar.  There is also an outdoor beer tent/party.  Your bathroom is where you make it.
Outside Nancy Whiskey's a hippie and his mom?

Before venturing into Nancy Whiskey's we head to local resident's car where he is selling ice cold beer out of his trunk.  The going price is 3 beers for $10 but my friend manages to convince the baby-carrying purveyor of beer to let us get 4 beers.  We head back to the front of the bar and just party outside.  We decide it's time for a "man on the street interview" of why everyone is here, at Nancy Whiskey's.  The answers I received were less than creative.  Mostly "It's St. Paddy's Day" and "For the beer" and "Because of this guy" while pointing to someone who has obviously overindulged.  Nonetheless, the party is great. 

We head inside to find a packed bar, bartenders working had and a prime band playing classic rock hits and the obligatory Irish folk/drinking songs, one of which has a particularly catchy chorus of "Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey."  It is also here at Nancy Whiskey's that we catch up with the rest of our tailgating gang.
Inside Nancy Whiskey's enjoying some Irish music!


With the sun setting we start the walk from Nancy Whiskey's back to Michigan Ave.  People are still getting crazy but we have other plans.  Back on Michigan Ave. we text our other friend and decide to try out Slows BBQ for a few beers.  It proves to be amazing!  There is good music, short bathroom lines and a bar that is easily accessible.  There's even a dance floor that I thoroughly tore up.  I think we even were perceived as somewhat attractive to a few ladies there.  Although, that doesn't say much since everyone in Corktown has been sipping since 12 noon.


When we finally have had enough we start walking back to the vacant lot and discuss the impending visit to our friend's new house in downtown Detroit.  As we locate the vehicle and get in I return a call to my fiance that I had missed earlier due to loud Irish music and beer soaked revelers.

Alas, she is stuck on the highway, 275 to be exact, with a flat tire as a result of a treacherous pothole.  We must rescue her.


So we make our way to 275 by IKEA and find her there stranded by the roadside.  I immediatelty call AAA for a tow truck.  But my friend insists he can change the tire.  I get out and attempt to help but probably hinder as he quickly raises the car with the jack, removes the tire with the tire iron and successfully fastens the donut.  As the tow truck arrives he is securing the last few nuts on the donut and we dismiss the tow truck guy as he warns us not to drive further than 15 miles on the donut.  Jeff you were a big help, consider this a shout out.


I ride with my fiance to Royal Oak to pick up my car and then back to our place.


I go to bed smelling like cigarettes and with a dark blue "s" on my hand from Slows.

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