Deer Park owner contemplates end to St. Patty’s Day tradition

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Cleanup from Saint Patrick’s Day is still going on at Deer Park and so is talk about new stress added this year.

The St. Patrick's Day tradition continues.

“Unfortunately it took a lot of anticipatory joy out of us. We really ended up having anticipatory grief,” Deer Park owner Tony Henry said.

Henry said he was hit with permits at the last minute. Every year he has a permit for the parade, tent, food and alcohol. He also has permits for royalty fees.

This year, Henry said the county building department said he also needed a land, electrical and heating permit. They came costly and without a lot of time to pay them.

“They were asking us to conduit electrical lines and to put emergency lights up in the tent and fire extinguishers. It went on and on and I would suspect I ended up paying 3 or 4 or 5 thousand dollars more than last year,” Henry said.

No one at the building department provided a statement but told NewsChannel 15 everything was protocol and this isn’t the first year this has happened at Deer Park.

Henry was also required to renew an entertainment/amusement permit from Indiana Department of Homeland Security. He said he was sent that notice via email the night before.

“Of course I complied in theory that I thought they would shut my tent down and cause probably an Irish revolution,” Henry said.

A person from Homeland Security told NewsChannel 15 people know that 30 days before expiration they are to look at their permits.

After 19 years the party has become the biggest in town. What started out as about 45 people reached more than 4 thousand this year.

Henry said he felt left in the dark with what was required and wasn’t given the proper notice. With requests coming in as last as the night before, he if it is worth it to continue the party.

“I really thought about just throwing the Irish flag down but no we fighting Irish we will prevail,” Henry said.

Henry expects after paying all the bills, including paying Saint Francis next door for parking, it will be $3,000 or $4,000 extra, maybe even $5,000. He said it initially costs anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 to put the party on.

2018 will be the 20th anniversary for the event should Henry decide to continue the tradition.

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