Frigid temperatures and 19 mph winds were no match for Fake Paddy’s Day party-goers

Three+Kent+State+students+make+for+the+fraternity+houses+with+a+box+of+drinks+during+the+morning+of+Fake+Paddys+Day.

Matthew Brown

Three Kent State students make for the fraternity houses with a box of drinks during the morning of Fake Paddy’s Day.

Gavin Mitten, Morgan McGrath, Reporters

Students woke up to a blanket of snow covering Kent on Fake Paddy’s Day. 

At 10 a.m., downtown bar employees shoveled snow, preparing for the rush of students eager to fill themselves with food and alcohol. A few students, decked out in green hoodies, walked the side streets of Kent carrying boxes of beer and hard seltzer. The students walked fast and kept their heads down, fighting against the cold wind, snow flurries and snow drifts.

Kent State student Luke Durbak and his group of friends out celebrating Fake Paddy’s Day. (Matthew Brown)

“I’m glad it is cold,” said Luke Durbak, a Kent State alumni. “It weeds out the weaklings.” 

Students yelled cheerfully over the sounds of cars driving over slush on East Main Street. A couple of students dancing in front of Barrio Tacos on Water Street asked excitedly to have their picture taken.

Kent State student Derek Kleinhenz and his friend out on Frat Row early in the morning on Fake Paddy’s Day. (Matthew Brown)

“Everybody is out here and having a good time,” said Derek Kleinhenz, a senior majoring in construction management. “Why wouldn’t you want to come out here and have a good time with all of the students that you go to school with?”

By 11 a.m., the sun peeked out as groups of students strolled from one party to the next, looking to drink and meet new people before taking their mid-day naps and going out again. 

Some students were happy to roam around maskless.

Kent State student Chloe Eaglowski sets out in the morning to join the Fake Paddy’s Day celebration. (Matthew Brown)

“The only thing I miss about that mask is that it kept my face warm,” said Chloe Eaglowski, a junior majoring in psychology.

Kleinhenz added that he wasn’t concerned over the spread of COVID.

Throughout downtown Kent, Girl Scouts were selling cookies, trying to capitalize on the mass amount of bar hopping students looking for a sweet fix. 

“We did it last year, and we sold 200 boxes in the couple of hours we were out here,” said Mindy Kovacs, who was supervising the group. Kovacs expects a big crowd but not one as big as last year.

Girl Scouts brave the cold spring morning to sell cookies on Fake Paddys Day. (Matthew Brown)

With parties, comes a concern for getting into trouble with the police. 

“We talked to the cops a couple of days ago, and they said as long as it’s a small crowd and it follows the noise ordinance, then we are good,” said Tyler Bosack, a junior majoring in business management. 

Bosack and his friends were hosting a house party on East Main Street. At the party, people danced, talked and laughed. Hungry partygoers kept asking Bosack, who was grilling hot dogs outside in the cold, if the food was ready yet. 

The routine of the police didn’t change for Fake Paddy’s Day. 

The police worked to keep students safe, made sure that they got home safe and weren’t being a danger to themselves, said Trevor White, a police officer for Kent State University Police Services. 

By noon, dozens of students walked on the side streets of Kent, searching for their next buzz. Students passed from party to party, shamrocks dangling from their necks, as they put their arms around their friends. 

The celebration continued at 2 p.m. with a lively downtown Kent. Lines stretched out the doors of bars including Rays Place, Dominick’s and Water Street Tavern.

Sitting in the corner of Rays Place, with a baby Yoda figurine strapped to her chest, was Kent senior Jacquie Sierzptowski. 

“We started at Barflyy, we were at Rays, we went to Dom’s after Rays, Falling Water…we’re gonna just do everything,” she said.

This year was Sierzptowski’s first time at the bars for Fake Paddy’s Day, and she started the day early, going from one bar to the next. 

She was with a small group of friends near the pool tables on the second floor of Rays Place. 

From her personal experience, she says the loosening of COVID restrictions hasn’t had much of an impact on this year’s festivities.

“I wasn’t at the bars last year, so I don’t really know, but it doesn’t seem like COVID’s affecting it,” she said.

Sierptowski, decked out in green, says her favorite part of the day is “probably just drinking early, if that makes sense. Start the day early.” 

Alexis Arbogast is sitting on a chair by the exit sign of Rays Place. 

Arbogast is a sophomore college of education, health and human services major, and she’s also a Rays Place employee of about two months now.

She said for most people, the partying began when the bar opened up at 11 a.m.

“They started right about at open,” Arbogast said. “We had people at the door already.”

This is Arbogast’s first year working at Rays Place during Fake Paddy’s Day, and she said it’s been hectic all throughout the morning. 

“I saw a couple guys in leprechaun costumes when they came in,” she said. “That was pretty cool. They looked like the Lucky Charms guy.”

Arbogast is also COVID conscious, and she is fully vaccinated, including her booster shot. 

“I feel like everyone’s eager to get out of the house,” she said. 

As the door swung open and close, and the cold breeze whipped through the restaurant, Arbogast sits, thanking customers for stopping by. 

Edward Cullen, another bar-goer, stands outside of Water Street Tavern around 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. 

Despite the cold, he waits with some friends to enter the busy bar, filled with DJ’s and dancing.

Cullen began his day around 12:00 p.m. at Zephyr, and he’s planning on staying out “until I go to bed,” he said.

After spending time at Water Street Tavern, Cullen hopes to make his way down the road to grab some brunch at Over Easy Cafe, located on Franklin Avenue in the old railroad station. 

 “I need some food,” he said. 

Cullen also commented on the COVID situation. He said this year is “way less crazy [in terms of restrictions]. A lot less requirements and masks and vaccine requirements.” 

“[There are a] lot more people. Feels more normal, for sure,” he added.

Anxiously awaiting entry to Water Street Tavern, dressed in green like most everyone else, Cullen stands in the Ohio cold.

Gavin Mitten is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

Morgan McGrath is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]