First things first. It’s not a bar tour. Do not call it a bar tour.
It is the 43rd Annual “Cheers First Class Tour” and should be called the Cheers First Class Tour, according to Mike Herr aka Mike The Mailman.
“It all started way back in the 80s,” Mike explained. “Cheers was a popular TV show…and there a mailman in the show! There were three or four seniors and we talked a little bit and decided to go on a tour and that’s the name we came up with. We all wore white shirts with the [Post Office] eagle on it, shorts, tall socks and black shoes. We went around, not so much to drink, just to go around.”
If you were wondering why Penn State’s mailman has his own [not a]bar tour, it’s just about having fun.
“It’s a great town and gown thing to do,” Mike explained. “It’s really just a way to get people together to have a good time. It seems like these days, people are always so stressed and so hurried. They need to put their hair down and relax. And dance. It’s important to dance!”
There’s quite the crowd that fills out the tour. This year the list includes 21-year-olds all the way up through to 78-year-olds.
“We have faculty, staff, students, and senior citizens,” Mike said. “The older people like talking to the younger people, and I like talking to the older people! A few years ago, a 76-year-old couple told me that they didn’t remember the last time they were downtown at midnight. That’s the kind of thing I like to hear. It’s good to get people out.”
The bar tour is always on a Thursday night because that’s when the TV show aired. This year, it begins May 8 at 6:53 in front of Old Main. Just to be clear, that’s 6:53. 6:52 is too early, 6:54 is too late. “There’s an itinerary, we run a tight ship on the tour,” explained Mike.
To keep things on schedule and to keep tour participants out of the road, Mike’s tour staff includes four people on security detail, though, the security detail seems to be just as serious as Mike (that is, not at all.) They are easy to spot, however. Last year you just had to look for the giant chicken.
“I always tell people, ‘don’t worry we have four people on security,'” Mike said. “But if you have any problems do not ask security. They’re busy doing other things.”
If this thing didn’t already seem legit with official T-shirts and a security detail, you should know it’s also sponsored, giving away things like Penn State pins and Budweiser shirts.
If you didn’t get a chance to sign up this year, there’s always next year to convince Mike to let you come. The best way to his heart is through his stomach — he likes thin crust pizza with banana peppers, or you could always enter into his cookie of the month contest.
He says he’ll keep doing the tour until he retires in 2023 when he’ll be 55 years old. Then again, who knows. He’s been saying he’s 55 for years.