Fake Paddy’s Day celebrations draw smaller crowds due to COVID-19

Amanda Levine Sports editor

Every year, Kent State celebrates Fake Paddy’s Day, a big event for the university students the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. Despite classes being moved online for the rest of the semester and students required to leave on-campus housing, Fake Paddy’s carried on as usual. 

The day-long event usually consists of fraternities hosting parties on Main Street and University. This year, the Inter-Fraternity Council told fraternities they weren’t permitted to throw parties in accordance with Gov. Mike DeWine and the university’s recommendations.

Kent City Police Sgt. Jim Ennemoser said there were no parties on Main or University. He said the two big parties that got shut down were on East Summit Street. 

“We shut down the two large parties on Summit Street due to the size that they were getting,” Ennemoser said. 

Police officers were also taking precautions in the result of the COVID-19. Ennemoser said law enforcement wore gloves and maintained a “standoff distance.”

At the end of the day, the Kent City Police made 11 arrests, which is a decrease from last year, Ennemoser said.

“It was more busy in the afternoon and midnight shifts. Like as far as arrests, most of the arrests occurred on afternoon in mid, maybe two or three arrests on day shift,” he said.

Despite warnings about large gatherings, participants headed downtown to the bar scene. Panini’s opened at 7 a.m. and offered Fake Paddy’s Day specials such as 99 cent breakfast, $3 Miller Lite, $3 Coors Lite and Jameson shots.

Waiters were also taking precautions due to the coronavirus. Hand sanitizer was placed around the restaurant, they wiped down caddies and booths after customers left, and used single-use cups for drinks.

“Not as busy as I’ve seen in previous years, but it was still pretty crowded,” Panini’s manager Kaylyn Cox said.

At the Loft, owner Brad Patterson said “the crowd was much more subdued and lacked in numbers of previous years.”

“One of them was the coronavirus and the university being closed down and plus we adjusted our capacity,” he said, “…to allow more space because we had been in contact with the fire marshal and there was a representative of the CDC going around with him and my capacity was down about 25 percent for the entire day, but you know, it was better than being closed.”

The Loft offered their normal drink specials for Fake Patty’s: tinted green and a Jim Beam promotion.

Some bartenders opted to wear gloves, while those who worked the front wore gloves to swipe IDs.

Amanda Levine is a sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].