|Updated: 3/15/2013 11:25 pm
||Published: 3/15/2013 4:09 pm
Preparations are underway for St. Patrick’s day in Green Country for law enforcement, as well as local bars.
“Huge” is how Travis Taylor, the director of operations at McNellie’s downtown describes St. Patrick’s Day. He says next to Oktoberfest, it’s quickly becoming on the biggest celebrations around Tulsa.
“Each year I think we go through about 20,000 wristbands,” Taylor says.
Just up the road At Arnie’s Bar, owner Chris Armstrong estimates last year nearly 30,000 people came ot celebrate.
FOX23’s Janai Norman asked whether that ever causes any problems.
Armstrong says, “It does sometimes. We have a lot of extra security and there's a lot of extra police presence, but most of them are here just to make sure you're having a good time and being safe.”
He says that works a few different ways. The celebration is a family event until dark when you must be 21 and up.
Both Armstrong and Taylor say they’ll have as many as 60 extra staff members on hand checking, and re-checking, ID’s.
“If the person doesn’t have a wristband,” Armstrong says, “the bartender has to ID them again at the bar also.”
Even with minors under control, Taylor tells FOX23 News there’s enough alcohol flowing for things to get out of control.
“The keys are 15 gallons,” he says. “We go through about 120.”
That’s 1,800 gallons of beer.
Food trucks help counteract that.
Armstrong says the bar “incorporate food trucks to try to keep people from over indulging without eating enough.”
They say local cab companies will be out giving rides home to keep the drinking from overflowing onto roadways. As for any other problems, Armstrong says officers from a half dozen departments will be in plain clothes and uniforms to take care of the rest.
“[The police are] here for public safety. They just want to make sure everyone's having a good time, and no one's doing anything they shouldn't be doing.”
Erik Smoot with the Alcohol Beverage Law Enforcement Commission says Tulsa Police plan to set up a command post in the area to keep an eye on festivities. He says having officers in plain clothes gives them an advantage because most people shy away from uniforms. Keeping underage drinkers away is a top priority, but besides that Smoot says officers are looking to maintain safety.
"Last year wew had problems with people urinating in public, we had fighting, and that's the kind of stuff we're going to be looking for," Agent Smoot says. "Anything that it makes it where it's not a family environment, or a friendly environment, that's what we're going to be dealing with."
Streets will be blocked on Elgin from 1st to 3rd and from Detroit to Frankfurt. The streets will re-open on Monday morning.
Tulsa police will also have DUI patrols this weekend. They are focusing on Brookside, Cherry Street and downtown. There will also be patrols on area highways.
AAA is also offering Tipsy Tow service starting on Sunday afternoon. AAA will give up to two passengers and a vehicle a ride home within a 15-mile radius. Just call 1-800-Triple-A-Help.