Nearly three dozen downtown bars, restaurants and bottle shops have agreed to halt alcohol sales to counter an early St. Patrick's Day celebration created by Penn State students, the most aggressive effort yet to curb drinking for the unofficial "State Patty's Day" holiday.
In exchange, each business will receive a $5,000 subsidy to help account for lost revenue. A committee comprised of university and community leaders announced the plan Tuesday and listed 34 establishments that it said supported Saturday's "alcohol-free zone."
State Patty's Day was created in 2007 to celebrate St. Patrick's Day when it fell on spring break that year. But the holiday no longer falls during the break, and school administrators, student leaders and community residents have grown weary of a weekend that has become synonymous with excessive drinking and property damage.
"This is an outside-the-box solution that businesses, the borough, student leaders and the University have embraced," said Tom Fountaine, borough manager and co-chairman of committee known as "The Partnership: Campus & Community United Against Dangerous Drinking."