STROUDSBURG — For 37 years, the Stroudsburg community has filled the streets and bars for the area’s annual St. Patty’s Day parade.
But what if the day was alcohol-free?
“It’s losing a lot of business, but it’s keeping a lot of people safe. So, it’s a torn debate,” said Amber Smith of Stroudsburg.
There are currently no plans to shut down bars in Monroe County, but this is another year Penn State and a neighborhood group in State College are asking bars to stop alcohol sales on what is called “State Patty’s Day” For $5,000 each. The neighborhood group said emergency visits and crime rates dropped nearly 40 percent.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I think that they should take the money and maybe allocate it to some sort of public transportation or cab system for the evening,” said Christopher Graham of Milford.
If Stroudsburg decides to do the same thing as State College, bars in the area could be empty.
Restaurant owners said it’s not necessary.
“There’s no cause for it to happen in Stroudsburg. It’s a fun, light-hearted day. Families and individuals have always enjoyed it, as well as I have,” said Barry Lynch, the owner of Jock n’ Jill’s.
Besides the fun, the owner of Jock and Jill’s on Main Street said his business can make more money while open than someone can pay him to shut down.
“It’s a good day for everybody, all the girls and servers on the floor and the bartenders, everybody does well,” Lynch said.
“It’s always been kind of a happy event, really no problems at all. Some littering issues, but that’s pretty much it,” said Captain Brian Kimmins at the Stroud Area Regional Police Department.
The captain said parade Sunday doesn’t cause much of a stir for authorities in Stroudsburg.
“What we may have is an occasional arrest on a Sunday afternoon, when you don’t have arrests on Sunday afternoons. But that’s really it, it’s not really a stand out,” said Kimmins.
Students at East Stroudsburg University said stopping alcohol sales, might not stop the drinking.
“Even speaking from an underage prospective as well, I would just find somewhere else to drink anyway. I don’t necessarily have to go to a bar to get alcohol,” said a student at the university.
The Stroudsburg St. Patrick’s day parade is on Sunday, March 23 this year.
As for the bars, they’ll be open and serving.