“We’re never excited to hear about a drinking holiday”
An event the State College police chief has called a “major problem” is set to return this weekend.
State Patty’s Day, a Penn State student-created drinking holiday that started in 2007, is Saturday. On Monday, State College police sent a letter to borough rental property owners with tips for a safe and peaceful weekend. Those include not inviting guests over and not serving large quantities of alcohol in your apartment or house.
“In the past years, the weekend between Thon and spring break has been a challenge, resulting in more crime, more criminal arrests and more alcohol overdoses than a typical winter weekend,” police wrote in the letter.
The letter also said there will be a “substantial” police presence, which Assistant Chief Matthew Wilson said is similar to the past few years.
A Facebook page for this year’s event has thousands marked as “interested” or “going” to the event. In past events, police have said that many who engage in the excessive drinking are not from State College. The result is typically alcohol and noise violations, vandalism and fights throughout the community.
The havoc peaked in 2011 with more than 330 arrests or citations issued between noon Friday and noon Sunday.
Those numbers were reduced by more than 50 percent in the past eight years, but on average, there are about 50 alcohol overdose cases at Mount Nittany Medical Center every year during State Patty’s Day weekend.
Last year, there were 160 arrests or citations over the weekend, according to police.
There have been various efforts to curb State Patty’s Day effects in the past, including alternate events and Penn State University paying more than $200,000 to 39 various businesses in 2014 so the businesses would either prohibit the sale of alcohol or close Saturday.
Wilson said he is not aware of any such agreements this year.