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Downtown State College Taverns and Restaurants Will Not Serve Alcohol on State Patty's Day

by on February 19, 2013 10:15 AM

Alcohol will not be available to patrons of downtown State College restaurants and bars on Saturday, otherwise known as 'State Patty's Day,' after an agreement was reached between members of the Tavern Association and Penn State and State College Borough officials. 

The Partnership: Campus & Community United Against Dangerous Drinking announced via press release Tuesday it will provide a $5,000 subsidy "in acknowledgement of the lost revenues these businesses will undoubtedly suffer," Penn State said. 

The money will come from parking fees collected during past State Patty's Day weekends, Penn State vice president for student affairs Damon Sims said. 

Halting the sale of alcohol on the student-created holiday is an effort to curb dangerous drinking among students by The Partnership, which is made up of university, local and student leaders. They said establishments will continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages, "maintaining downtown's appeal for responsible visitors." 

"This could be a turning point in the conversation on high-risk drinking on this particular weekend," said Courtney Lennertz, president of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) and a member of The Partnership.

"As students, we need to consider the bigger picture of our actions. We just raised an incredible $12.3 million dollars for [the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon], but just one week later we damage that reputation with a weekend of large-scale binge drinking. We hope that everyone will do their part on State Patty's Day weekend to make our home an alcohol-free zone," Lennartz said. 

Sims, who also serves as co-chairman of The Partnership, said the group "is determined" to end the problems caused by State Patty's Day, and input from student members has been crucial.

"The Partnership's collaboration with tavern and restaurant owners has been extraordinarily welcomed and successful. The decision of many owners last year to limit hours or close altogether was a critical contributor to improved outcomes," Sims said. "This new agreement should further diminish the destructive excess encouraged by State Patty's Day, and we could not be more grateful to these business leaders for their responsible action."

Sims said in past years, parking officials have tracked the revenue on State Patty's Day and the money has been directed to The Partnership’s efforts, which is why they can offer the subsidy to local businesses. 

"We see this as a logical next step in deterring unwanted and unruly behavior, which in turn will make the downtown area safer for visitors who want to come to State College," said Tom Fountaine, borough manager and co-chairman of The Partnership.

"This is an outside-the-box solution that businesses, the borough, student leaders and the University have embraced. Our goal is to end this excessive drinking event and keep students, residents and visitors safe," Fountaine said. 

According to Penn State, since it began in 2007 as a substitute for St. Patrick's Day – which that year fell during Penn State's Spring Break – State Patty’s Day has increased the burden on local law enforcement and emergency medical staff, increased vandalism, litter and noise and has "been detrimental to the appeal of the campus and Downtown State College," officials said.

Creating an alcohol-free zone in the downtown area is one of the key efforts in a multipronged attack against the drinking event that has been promoted annually on social media sites.

"I'm very excited and proud that the members of the Tavern Association of State College are able to stand together in support of our community by supporting an alcohol-free day on Saturday, Feb. 23," said Jennifer Zangrilli, president of the Tavern Owner's Association and director of operations at Dante's Restaurants Inc.

"This is the third year that many of us have taken a stand against events and behavior that hurts us all, and the first in which all of us have put our individual needs and views aside to benefit the State College and Penn State community for the long term. Our collective desire is to see our community and downtown not only grow but thrive," she said. 

In addition to the halt in alcohol service on Feb. 23 for downtown taverns and restaurants, the Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, both on the Penn State campus, also will not serve alcohol.

Below is a full list of local establishments that are participating in the alcohol-free zone for State College during State Patty's Day. Over the weekend, Centre County’s six police forces will join with the Pennsylvania State Police and liquor control enforcement agents to monitor activity. State College code enforcement and parking enforcement officers will also be active.

Student leaders also have initiated key anti-State Patty’s Day efforts, including a ban on social functions by the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, and the creation of multiple volunteer opportunities through the State Day of Service.

Should it be necessitated by law Saturday, suspects will immediately be taken before a magisterial district judge and offered an immediate hearing or the chance to post financial collateral. Those who can’t pay may be held in Centre County Correctional Facility.

Local leaders are requesting that judges issue the maximum fine for anyone found guilty of violations on State Patty’s Day. Beginning in December, the maximum fine for underage drinking and public drunkenness jumped to $500. Following arrests, authorities will also refer any Penn State students to the University’s Office of Student Conduct for further review.

Here is the full list of locations that are in support of an alcohol-free zone Saturday:

1. The Saloon
2. Inferno Brick Oven and Bar
3. bar bleu
4. The Hopshop Beer Market
5. The Deli Restaurant (serving food only)
6. Z Bar
7. The Lion's Den
8. The Shandygaff
9. The Tavern (serving food only)
10. The Gingerbread Man (serving food only)
11. The All-American Rathskeller
12. Spats Café and Speakeasy (serving food only)
13. The Phyrst
14. The Clover
15. Brewsky's Bottle Shop at The Day's Inn Penn State
16. Rotelli (serving food only)
17. Levels
18. Bill Pickle's Tap Room
19. Indigo
20. Allen Street Grill (serving food only)
21. The Corner Room (serving food only)
22. Zeno's
23. Chumley's
24.  Zeno's ToGo
25. Sharkey's Bar & Bottle Shop
26. The Brewery
27. The Darkhorse
28. Kildare's (serving food only)
29. Duo
30. Chili's Grill & Bar (serving food only)
31. Café 210 West (serving food only)
32. Mad Mex (serving food only)
33.  Zola New World Bistro (serving food only)
34.  The Atherton Hotel (serving food only)

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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