State Patty’s: Making the Best of It for State College
Can you imagine a State Patty’s Day where there was more than just drinking? A day with live music, food, AND excessive green? Whether you have jumped on the State Patty’s Day bandwagon or not, there is a realist in all of us which reminds us that the event has grown rapidly since its inception three years ago. Rather than continue the debate between whether State Pattys day falls in line with Penn State traditions past, or if the day-long alcohol binge stands out as a scar on the spring semester, we should accept that State Patty’s day is here for the foreseeable future and likely isn’t going anywhere.
Most community members are particularly opposed to the massive pilgrimage of out-of-towners to State College and use our beloved State College as a bacchanal playground. You have to look no further than the weekend police presence to see that an overwhelming majority of the incidents and emergencies involve out-of-towners. The costs of excessive hospital visits and police force amplification weigh heavily on the community.
With the spontaneous influx of people from out of town with a desire to party and drink heavily, could Penn State and the State College community at large, use the hosts of young people for positive value? In fact, there are countless ways that Penn State and State College could generate revenue. In the same vein as traditions past, fraternities and sororities could set up competitions and tournaments. Imagine if Allen Street was closed off for the day to allow street music and venders to come in. Concerts would be a huge success, and in turn provide an opportunity for people to sober up even just for a few hours. After a few years, an older crowd of people would visit to enjoy the festivities and further produce income. If there were planned, inexpensive events downtown, people would have some structure to their day and their drinking, much in the same way that the opening kickoff does on Fall Saturdays. In addition, Penn State could establish a trademark for the event and profit from merchandise sales.
After all, the core argument against State Patty’s Day is the fundamental problem that there is no purpose to this holiday besides drinking. This is the reason that State Patty’s Day is reviled compared to football weekends, when similar drinking takes place.
Penn State and State College should realize that State Patty’s is not going away any time soon and instead consider ways to incorporate other events, so that there becomes value, not instead of, but in concert with the State Patty’s Day that Penn State students love. Someday looking back, what was once a hated display of binge drinking can become the catalyst for an early spring State College event.