Several thousand people packed the Fort Worth Stockyards this weekend for its annual St. Patrick’s celebration.
The 22nd annual “Cowtown Goes Green” was Saturday with an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people in attendance, according to Ethan Cartwright with the Fort Worth Stockyards Heritage Development.
“It’s a real celebration,” Cartwright said. “We work so hard at maintaining our heritage and promoting the legacy of the Stockyards and Fort Worth in general that when we get a chance to roll out the green carpet and celebrate something like St. Patrick’s Day, all of the businesses embrace it and have a ton of fun.”
The annual celebration included festive food and drinks, live music, and armadillo races, along with an Irish-Western parade Saturday afternoon. Brandon Wiederholt and his family are visiting from Kansas City.
“It’s crazy. This is way bigger than we thought it would be. Very fun!” Wiederholt said.
The number of visitors has increased over the years, according to Cartwright. Pre-pandemic, about 3 million people visited the Fort Worth Stockyards annually. Their data shows redevelopment of Mule Alley and Hotel Drover has increased visitation to about 8 million people annually, according to the Fort Worth Stockyards Heritage Development.
“It has never been more prominent or more promising to the development and the future of business than it is today,” Cartwright said. “The pandemic just kind of put a hurting on everybody, but this is western spirit at its finest. Nobody ever caved or buckled. We stayed. We stood our ground. We rode it out, and now folks are appreciating it all. That’s kind of the grit that the folks and the businesses in the Stockyards are famous for.”
Flea Style opened its Fort Worth Stockyards location in October 2021. The store specializes in customizing hats. Assistant manager Ashley Chipman said big events like Cowtown Goes Green means more foot traffic, but business remains consistent on normal days.
“We’re booming. Travelers are always coming in. It’s a fun way to get a hat and have some fun,” Chipman said.
According to Fort Worth Stockyards Heritage Development, there are currently no vacant business spaces at the Stockyards.