With bar entry age at 21, lines short

By Adam Musto

Usually, the beginning of spring is symbolized by whether or not a groundhog sees his shadow. But on the campus of the University of Illinois, spring started on Friday, March 6, with Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.

The University and Champaign’s decision to increase the entry age into bars to 21 on Friday deterred minors from trying to enter bars. However, this did little to stop the Unofficial event and if anything, made the bars much more attractive for those over 21.

Thousands of people were out on Green Street and in Campustown Friday afternoon, and many of them were either recent University grads, citizens who live nearby, and students from other schools.

“It’s better for me, there are no lines and I know all the girls are of age,” Tim Murrary, a 2008 University graduate who currently lives in Chicago said. “Compared to Chicago, it’s really cheap and less packed.”

“It’s a good thing to try to stop underage drinking,” Dean Anderson, a 24-year old who lived about 20 minutes away from campus said. “I usually come down all the time. I like Firehaus and Murphy’s.”

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The warm weather made beer gardens at Kams and Joe’s Brewery very desirable. None of the bar’s employees were able to comment. However, Joe’s, Kam’s, C.O. Daniels, Firehaus and Murphy’s Pub were all busy in the afternoon. Also, there were no lines to get into the bars and 21-year olds were able to enter right away.

Still many students walked around Green Street and had friends over for apartment parties. The warm weather also made apartment’s with balconies a great place to meet.

The increase in visitors made great opportunities for vendors to sell more of their products. “Mr. Mustard,” a.k.a. Jeff Bebar, owner of Mustard’s Last Stand in Danville, IL opened up his hot dog stand on Green Street.

“It’s been kind of slow, but it’s best at night,” Bebar said. “We opened up at 11:00 a.m. and it will be busy between 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning.”

Also, the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship group gave out free water.

“We want to provide water to people celebrating Unofficial,” Rick Moy, a junior in MCB said. “When drinking alcohol, they forget to drink water and can become dehydrated because they think alcohol is enough. It’s important they they drink water and stay hydrated.”

Many students flocked to restaurants for a lunch break in the afternoon. Chipotle, Potbelly, and Noodle’s and Company were all very busy.