It’s time to iron your green shirt and blow the dust off your “Kiss me I’m Irish” buttons — it’s St. Patrick’s day again.
Last year the City of London was host to a plethora of activities during the traditional Irish holiday, including closing Richmond Row because of the crowds in the streets. This year, London Police Services are anticipating much of the same.
“We do have an operational plan, much like that in Project [Liquor Enforcement and Reduction of Noise],” Amy Phillipo, London police media relations officer, said. “We’ve learnt that St. Patrick’s day can be very busy, so we have increased enforcement in and around the London area.”
There are also options for students who do not want to venture to the downtown area.
According to Jeff Armour, food and beverage manager for the University Students’ Council, the Spoke Lounge will be ready for the occasion. Students will be able to drink green beer, eat Irish stew and enjoy a performance by a troupe of young Irish dancers. There will also be DJs, live bands and giveaways. Western folk-singing legend Rick McGhie will also take the stage at night.
While St. Patrick’s day is typically known as a day where students drink, Armour noted the Spoke has seen few problems.
“Students just don’t seem to cause any trouble when they’re here — maybe because it’s their own venue,” he said. “We used to bring in [hired security], but last year I remember them saying to me, ‘Why do they have us here? What are we doing?’”
Despite Armour’s assurances, Campus Community Police Service will be on watch throughout the day.
“We do have extra officers working both in the daytime and at night just in the event anything does get out of hand,” Elgin Austen, director of Campus Community Police, said. “In looking at past experiences, however, [students] have been relatively good around St. Patrick’s day at Western.”
The opening of the Spoke patio this year is expected to draw a larger crowd than usual, according to Armour.
“[Our] hire-ons will probably monitor the patio during the daytime, and anywhere else on campus where alcohol is being served. Then we’ll go to the residences,” Austen said.
The Spoke and Wave will increase management and security presence, but Armour didn’t expect things to get too out of hand.
“In terms of drinking, [students] have a good pattern in the sense we’re usually everybody’s first stop,” Armour said. “They come here, see all their friends, have a drink, celebrate, joke around and then head to another party or try to go downtown.”