Town-gown partnership seeks 'alcohol-free' downtown on State Patty's Day

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A town-gown partnership that for more than a decade has been united against high-risk drinking is employing new tactics to keep downtown State College alcohol-free on what has become known as "State Patty's Day."

An agreement has been reached with downtown State College taverns and restaurants to halt the sale of alcohol on Feb. 23, the date set for this year's State Patty’s Day, an event created by students six years ago. Establishments will still offer food and non-alcoholic drinks, maintaining downtown’s appeal for responsible visitors. 

The Partnership: Campus & Community United Against Dangerous Drinking, a collection of University and local leaders announced today (Feb. 19) that it has reached an agreement with downtown tavern and restaurant owners to create an “alcohol-free zone” in Downtown State College on State Patty's Day. In acknowledgement of the lost revenues these businesses will undoubtedly suffer, The Partnership has provided each a $5,000 subsidy.

"This could be a turning point in the conversation on high-risk drinking on this particular weekend," said Courtney Lennartz, 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 THON, 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."

Damon Sims, co-chairman of The Partnership and Penn State's vice president for Student Affairs, said The Partnership includes many key student leaders at University Park, and members are determined to bring an end to the troubles caused by State Patty's Day. The input from students has been key to a number of new measures being tried this year.

"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 The Partnership is using money from parking fees collected during previous State Patty’s Day weekends, which typically bring a throng of vehicles to local parking garages. In past years, parking officials have tracked the revenue on that day and the money has been directed to The Partnership’s efforts.

“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.”

Each year since 2007, State Patty’s Day has strained local law enforcement and emergency medical staff; increased vandalism, litter and noise; and been detrimental to the appeal of the campus and Downtown State College.

Creating an alcohol-free zone in the downtown area represents one of the key efforts in a multipronged attack against the drinking event that has been pushed 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."

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 abstain from serving 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. In addition, during 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.

Where the law permits on Feb. 23, 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 detained 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 Feb 23:

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)
35.  The Dining Room at the Nittany Lion Inn
36.  Whiskers
37.  Legends
38.  The Gardens

Contacts: 
Last Updated October 16, 2013