State College Hoping to Attract Non-Drinking Crowds to Downtown on State Patty's Day
In the past State Patty's Day has attracted huge crowds -- of booze-fueled partiers.
At the same time, the popular all-day drinking event has reportedly scared away the usual crowds of shoppers and restaurant-goers.
Courtney Hayden, the borough's communication and special projects coordinator says, "We've had people with families tell us that they were afraid to go downtown. In the past a number of people thought they couldn't go downtown because of all the people drinking."
With that in mind, State College Borough, Penn State and many student organizations are working hard to make certain that everyone feels welcome and safe on State Patty's Day which falls on Saturday.
As an incentive, dozens of merchants will be giving customers vouchers that are good for up to four hours of parking in borough garages.
In addition, a number of student groups will be participating in a day of service program on Saturday. They'll be helping the community instead of joining the binge drinking crowd.
Hayden says, "We're expecting up to 1,000 Penn State volunteers. The hope there is to make sure that the downtown is a nice place to go to."
The volunteers will be cleaning up debris on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They'll begin working Friday night -- getting downtown spruced up even before State Patty's Day gets underway. They'll also be also be cleaning up surrounding neighborhoods.
In addition, the State College and Penn State police departments will have all officers on-duty throughout the weekend. Outside agencies will be assisting, including neighboring police departments, Liquor Control Enforcement officers, Pennsylvania State Police, code enforcement officers and the Centre County Alcohol Task Force, which consists of police officers from throughout the county.
Borough ordinance enforcement officers will be monitoring apartment complexes and neighborhood rental units to be sure that maximum occupancy requirements are obeyed.
Penn State students created State Patty's Day in 2007 when St. Patrick's Day fell during spring break -- a time when most students were out of town.
In the years since, the event has become a spectacle of boorish behavior. Public drunkenness, vandalism, sexual assaults and alcohol poisoning are some of the widespread problems State Patty's Day has generated.
Last year, in an effort to curb the excessive partying, Penn State paid bar owners to close for the day. Police say an alcohol-free downtown significantly contributed to a roughly 37-percent decline in crime during the 2013 event.
The university is paying bars up to $5,000 to shut down again this year and almost all downtown establishments that serve alcohol have signed up.
Back to the garage parking. On Saturday, if you don't visit a merchant that validates you will pay regular parking rates for the first three hours which is 50-cents per half hour. (The first half half hour is always free.) After three hours, you'll be charged event rates. Click HERE for more information about parking.
The following Downtown merchants validate parking in the municipal garages.
248 Calder Way
American Red Cross
Angelina's Invigorating Hour
BioLife Plasma Center
Central PA Dance Workshop
Days Inn Penn State
Douglas Albert Gallery
Dr. George Kleban, MD
Executive Offices of GN Assoc.
Happy Valley Optical
Laurie Kile, MD
McLanahan's Downtown Market
McLanahans's Student Store
Northwest Savings Bank
Old Main Frame Shop & Gallery
Old State Clothing Company
Perfect 10 & More Day Spa
Rapid Transit Sports
S. J. Miska Goldsmiths & Jewelers
Spats Cafe & Speakeasy
Student Book Store
The Animal Kingdom
The Atherton Hotel
The Deli Restaurant
The Music Mart
Voices of Central PA
Woodring's Floral Gardens
Your Cigar Den