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Posted on Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Police plan extra patrols as Ann Arbor welcomes St. Patrick's Day weekend revelers

By Kyle Feldscher


University of Michigan students line up for a photo booth at last year's Bash on The Diag, which attracted approximately 6,000 students. A similar number is expected this year. file photo

It’s the one annual weekend when no one in Ann Arbor minds being seen dressed in green from head to toe.

That’s right, it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

With both Saturday and Sunday set to be busy in Ann Arbor area bars, officials throughout the area are gearing up for the revelers to take to the streets. Ann Arbor police Lt. Renee Bush said extra police patrols will be out on both Saturday and Sunday.

“I really don’t know what day is going to be the biggest day because there are so many events happening on Sunday,” she said.

“There will be an extra presence in the downtown area. We will be visible, we will have extra visibility those days.”

Police are expected to be on a higher alert this weekend after a particularly busy weekend in 2012. Police fielded 475 calls for service and a crowd estimated by police at 200 people — and estimated by others to be near 1,000 — flooded South University Avenue after the bars were closed early March 18.

The University of Michigan sent out an email Thursday, giving students advice on what to do and not to do this weekend. Among the suggestions were staying away from open windows, roof tops and ledges and not walking in the street with alcohol.

Washtenaw County police agencies will be stepping up their drunk driving enforcement as a part of a statewide program funded by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. Sgt. David Archer, of the sheriff's office, said the University of Michigan Police, Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety, Saline City Police Department and the Northfield Township Police Department will be working with the sheriff's office in upping enforcement.

March 17, 2012 also marked the now-infamous literary fight, where a man was sent to hospital after being punched at a party by another man following an argument about books. Still-unconfirmed rumors cite the argument was about who was better — J.R.R. Tolkien or Leo Tolstoy.

The lines outside area bars are expected to form early on both Saturday and Sunday. Many bars have specials and are expecting big crowds.

Among those establishments is Conor O’Neills Irish Pub, 318 S. Main St. Micheal Dineen, night manager at the pub, said both Saturday and Sunday are expected to be busy, with lines out the door from when the bar opens at 11 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday.

Dineen said the atmosphere is rowdy and celebratory, but no extra security guards are being hired for the weekend.

“We have our regular staff, we just up it a little bit more to have a lot more on,” he said. “We have lines outside all day, we control the crowd a lot and we end up having a lot of people with families.”

Dineen said Conor O’Neill’s will be having beer and shot specials every hour on the hour both days, in addition to their standard Irish dishes and the always-popular Bud Light.

Despite the less-than-ideal weather forecasted for the weekend — the National Weather Service forecasts a high of 38 degrees Saturday and 34 on Sunday after a possible snowstorm on Friday — the party surely will still be going on outside.

One of the major issues with big party days in Ann Arbor is always the amount of trash that ends up littering downtown Ann Arbor. Luckily for city residents, trash pick-up day is on Monday in much of the downtown area, said Lisa Wondrash, city of Ann Arbor communications manager.

Wondrash said there likely won’t be any special trash pick up done in the city because of the regularly scheduled work on Monday.

“It’s not going to change,” she said.

There also will be some people looking to do a bit of good in Ann Arbor on Sunday, amidst the drunken shenanigans.

Some University of Michigan students will be hanging out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday on The Diag, not to partake in the booze-drenched festivities but to make sure others stay safe.

Manish Parikh, student body president at U-M, said the Bash on The Diag will be providing pizza, desserts and water to students in the area. In addition, there will be music, gifts and other activieis for students.

Parikh said an estimated 6,000 students came by the 2012 version of the event and he’s hoping for a similar turn-out this year. Approximately $15,000 was spent on the Bash on The Diag, making it one of the organization’s largest events of the year.

“The safety of our entire campus community is extremely important,” Parikh said. “Along with the Division of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students, we’re putting on one of our most important events of the year … so that Wolverines can keep themselves well-nourished and hydrated and are reminded to stay safe and healthy.”

Parikh, university officials and police are clearly preparing for the green cloud descending on the area. However, it’s still a bit of a nervy time for those charged with keeping the city safe.

Bush said she didn’t know how many people are expected to come to the city for the festivities, nor could she speculate how a cold St. Patrick’s Day would play out after years of warmth. The department has been preparing for the weekend for a number of days and she said she’s still caught up in the process. She sighed and laughed when contemplating what to expect.

“There’s just too many what-ifs,” she said.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Mar 17, 2013 : 2:33 a.m.

Gettem coppers. Get the drunks off the road.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

Interestingly, in Ireland proper St. Patrick's Day is traditionally a somber day of culturally enforced sobriety, which is why it's so easily distinguished from the remainder of the year.

Jack Gladney

Sun, Mar 17, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

It's great to see that now allows ethnic stereotypes to be posted on its website. Thanks for loosening up the rules, gang.... Or are some ethnic slurs more equal than others?


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

The city of East Lansing is allowing free overnight parking in their parking structures and lots on March 17 to deter drunk driving. Vehicles can be parked until 9 am Monday morning. It might be nice if Ann Arbor considered doing something like this.

Ann English

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

East Lansing should report the percentage of those taking advantage of the free overnight parking being free of hangovers by 9 am Monday morning, able to leave the parking structures and lots soberly. No need to tell us the percentage of those who use the free overnight parking, but get so drunk they need hospitalization.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

I think it's sad that the immature drunks in America think of St. Patrick's Day as a day to get drunk and throw up in public.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

UofM forgot to include "don't run with scissors" in their email full of safety tips. Leaders and best, indeed.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

Go Green! Go White! <------ sorry could not resist seeing all these new Spartan fans out in front of the UM frats today.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

So. The AAPD can find the staff for extra patrols for St. Patrick's Day, due to the possible rowdy crowds, but couldn't find police officers to sit outside the club Studio 4 near and around closing to quell any possible issues after the club closes. Mmm...

An Arborigine

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Policing Studio 4 was a non-revenue opportunity.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Studio 4 was a private business who should've controlled their own clientele. Ann Arbor on St. Patricks is an actual city where, um, the police do that for the common good.

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

On St. Patrick's Day, people will be entering the bars far earlier in the day than most. By noon there will already be drunks on the road.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Have fun and enjoy the festivities, but please, be safe and sensible. We have already had enough tragedy in this area from drinking and driving.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

I don't think the crowds will be that bad this year considering it's cold and snowy. Last year it was what 70 degrees and sunny? I don't see many being out in the crap were having this year.

Ann English

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

Renee Bush is implying that this St. Patrick's Day is colder than in most other years. I don't know if you, Saline_Wins, looked at any of the photos from the Dexter tornado 366 days ago, but I did and the children in the photos were dressed for outdoor temperatures in the 70s, all right.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

No green beer drinker worth their salt lets the weather hinder their plans

Lou Perry

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Ever wondered why Corned Beef and Cabbage is not eaten in Ireland? Because it was invented in the Irish and Jewish tenements on the lower eastside of Manhattan around 1900. This is told by James Cagney in his autobiography "Cagney". Mrs. Irish cooked with cabbage and Mrs. Jewish cooked corned beef. As neighbors they created corned beef and cabbage. Being easy to prepare and cheap, it became a mainstay in salons generally owned by Irish because they already spoke English along with that great Irish gregarious personality. Another bit of trivia, Mr. Cagney, an Irishman spoke fluent Yiddish. Wouldn't it be great if we had melting pots like that today?

Ann English

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

Never thought about the possibility of a Scotch-Jewish, Northern Irish-Jewish, Southern Irish-Jewish, Welsh-Jewish,or English-Jewish ancestry of anyone, let alone someone well-known, like James Cagney. I heard on Friday that two Americans wrote the song, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling."

Jack Gladney

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Let's not forget that St. Joseph's feast day is on Tuesday. Hopefully the police will not let their guard down. Also, will be posting bar hours for this religious holiday as well?

Dog Guy

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

As usual, Paula Gardner, folks near campus will honor St. Joseph by repairing damage done on St. Patrick's Day.

Paula Gardner

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

I'm trying to imagine what a St. Joseph's Day celebration would look like near campus. Not easy!


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

police are going to be looking for fast cash! something simple to ticket.


Sun, Mar 17, 2013 : 12:48 a.m.

The kind of volunteer taxation I like. And that's one tax I wont be paying. How about you?