The cleverly named “State Patty’s Day” has brought hundreds of visitors to State College for over ten years. Every February, students and visitors alike get decked out in green to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day a month early. However, many are unaware of how this unique Penn State holiday began or why the weekend has become so controversial.
In 2007, Saint Patrick’s Day conflicted with Penn State’s spring break, so students pushed to move the holiday and celebrate early. Creating a Facebook group entitled “The Official Group to Move St. Patrick’s Day”, the first State Patty’s Day was held the weekend of March 2, 2011.
Since then, the holiday has continued to grow and attract out-of-town visitors. However, the rising popularity of State Patty’s Day has been a source of complication for the state college borough. In the year 2011 alone, 234 arrests were made, 60 percent of which were of visitors.
Due to the staggering number of arrests and crimes occurring over State Patty’s Day weekend, law enforcement officials have taken extra precautions to prevent misconduct. In 2013, the State College borough began paying local bars to close their doors for the weekend. Using revenue from parking fees, bars are paid a $5,000 subsidy to incentivize their closing.
While downtown bars initially took advantage of the large number of customers over State Patty’s weekend, they have become increasingly cooperative with the borough’s efforts to curb law enforcement incidents.
The university has also taken action in response to State Patty’s day, taking part in paying off businesses to prevent the sale of alcohol over the weekend. Student organizations have also played a role in discouraging State Patty’s-related activities, with sororities and fraternities implementing a complete ban of the holiday.
Efforts to maintain safety throughout the weekend over the past few years have proven to be successful with arrest rates and the number of hospitalizations down considerably since they peaked in 2011.
Two weeks ago, the State College Police issued its annual notice to local residents mentioning the increased police presence and recommended precautions to take ahead of the weekend. Renters were warned to limit their number of guests and refrain from serving large quantities of alcohol, among other things.
With State Patty’s Day and its notorious reputation right behind us, VALLEY hopes everyone was safe and enjoyed the weekend if they chose to celebrate.
*VALLEY does not support underage drinking. Please remember to always drink responsibly.