The Dutchess County St. Patrick's Day Parade has been met with street fights and arrests over the past few years. Here's hoping it won't happen again.

I was marching in last year's parade in the Village of Wappingers and saw thousands of happy parents, grandparents and children celebrating Irish heritage along the parade route. I also saw a lot of people drinking in public. Unfortunately, a few selfish people had to ruin the fun for everyone by apparently drinking a little too much and getting into a brawl.

Last year's incident happened right on East Main St. where families were still gathered watching the parade, and that's not ok. My own son was standing just a few feet away from the melee.

Families should be able to bring their children out to the St. Patrick's Day parade without fear of violence. Just because you can't handle your alcohol, anger or both is no excuse for ruining everyone else's good time and putting children in danger.

While I love partying as much as the next person, I'm hoping the police decide to be a little more strict in enforcing the public drinking laws this year. Honestly, I would love it if everyone could enjoy a drink or two while watching the parade. But if people can't be respectful and learn to handle their alcohol, I'd rather wait until I get home.

So please, for everyone's sake, be responsible this year and let's have a great time during Saturday's parade.