Some 3,700 people participated in Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl, an annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed bar crawl in Clarendon, according to police.
That’s down from nearly 5,000 attendees for last year’s crawl. Unlike last year, however, this one resulted in relatively few arrests.
Police say they arrested two people in direct connection to the crawl — one for assault and battery, and the other for drunk in public. That compares to more than two dozen arrests during last year’s event, including a bar crawl attendee who was arrested for allegedly showing up naked at the Arlington magistrate’s office in search of her incarcerated husband.
The Arlington County Police Department credited planning and cooperation among police, bars, event organizers and neighbors for the largely drama-free afternoon.
“It was a lot smoother of an operation,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “We have to credit the bars that participated as their staff refused to let people who were highly intoxicated in. There was a great working partnership for this event between police and the participating businesses.”
“It was a year-long planning process… there were constant meetings among county staff, the civic associations, the businesses and the bar crawl hosts,” Sternbeck added. “It showed positive results in terms of behavior.”
Sternbeck said police “could have arrested quite a bit more for drunk in public” but instead focused on getting those individuals home safely via taxicabs. New this year, Sternbeck and another police department employee live-tweeted the bar crawl and set up an outdoor photo booth — complete with props including a McGruff the Crime Dog mascot head — where they mixed fun with a bit of public outreach.
“We definitely spoke to them directly about responsible partying, appropriate behavior and transportation usage,” he said.
Despite helping to drastically reduce crime, police did take note of one area for possible improvement.
“The biggest problem I saw was people darting into the street before waiting for the appropriate time to cross,” Sternbeck said. Several police department tweets showed attendees dressed in green crossing in the middle of busy roads, in front of cars.
Per new bar crawl regulations that were approved last year, bar crawl organizer Project DC Events was to pick up the tab for police overtime associated with security for the event. Sternbeck was unable to say what the bill was for this weekend, though the Washington Post previously reported that the cost to police was between $15,000 and $20,000.
Photos courtesy Arlington County Police Department
The Shamrock Crawl, an annual bar crawl in Clarendon for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, is back again this year, on March 21.
The Saturday following the annual celebration of the Irish spirit, thousands of carousers will be wearing green and holding commemorative mugs for the event hosted by Arlington’s Project DC Events.
To take part in the festivities, drinkers can register online for $15. After 11:59 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday), the price goes up to $20.
The crawl will start at 2:00 p.m., with participants registering at either the Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) or Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) before 5:30 p.m. Crawlers will get a shamrock mug to be refilled at participating restaurants, party favors, St. Patrick’s Day beads and $2 slices at Bronx Pizza (3100 Clarendon Blvd).
The participating businesses are:
- Clarendon Grill
- Clarendon Ballroom
- Mad Rose Tavern
- Whitlow’s on Wilson
- American Tap Room
- Hard Times Cafe
- Spider Kelly’s
- Hunan One Restaurant
- Mister Days
- IOTA Club & Cafe
- Don Tito
Last year, thousands of revelers packed the streets all day, including one woman who allegedly tried to visit her husband in the Arlington County jail sans clothing.
— I Love Arlington VA (@ilovearlingtonv) March 17, 2014
The Bow Wow Crawl for Charity is the seventh annual crawl on the February holiday for a group of friends. The themed crawls — previously there have been Disney and video game characters — always donate proceeds to charity and this year, the money is going to Arlington-based Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Participants are encouraged to dress up like animals in the spirit of the event.
According to the bar crawl’s fundraising page, the bar crawl started seven years ago with three people on the day before a federal holiday. It has since grown to more than 100, benefiting charities like Give Kids the World and Child’s Play.
“Now this isn’t your typical bar crawl,” Adam Ross, who co-founded the bar crawl, writes on the page. “It’s not put on by a big promotion company. We are grassroots. We don’t sell wristbands or drink tickets or do any publicizing. It is the same crew that comes each year, only expanded by word of mouth, friends bringing other friends, or whatever strangers we run into along our journey. We aren’t out to make money off this, nor will we ever. After the second year of this bar crawl it was apparent that it was getting popular and that we would have a large number of attendees. We decided two things at that point; we would have a new theme ever year and we would raise money for a charity that corresponded with that theme.”
The crawl’s website has raised $400 of a $900 goal, with two weeks left on its online fundraiser.
The crawl begins on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd). The crawl will then swing into D.C. before finishing up back in Arlington.
It’s unclear if the crawl has applied for or received a bar crawl permit, a new regulation the Arlington County Board instituted last summer. The permits are intended to recoup county costs from the additional police presence the crawls — which have been attended by as many as 5,000 people in the past — necessitate.
Photo courtesy Dalfa Ahmed
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department live-tweeted Saturday’s Halloween-themed bar crawl in Clarendon, providing Twitter followers with frequent updates, safety tips and photos.
The bar crawl, billed as “The Rise of the Day Drinkers,” ran from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. It was the first bar crawl approved for a permit under the county’s new bar crawl regulations, which are intended to curb drunken criminal activity by providing a larger police presence, at the expense of crawl organizers.
The stepped-up police presence apparently worked. This past weekend’s Halloween-theme was a relatively quiet affair, with only 9 or 10 arrests, according to initial reports. There were no reports of any bar crawl patrons stripping naked, or any other significant incidents, according to police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
ACPD’s live-tweeting highlighted authorities’ efforts to keep everyone safe — from officers making sure long lines outside of bars did not stretch out onto the street to paramedics having a stretcher ready should medical assistance be needed.
The police department’s running commentary also had some lighter moments, including an officer taking a photo with Muppets characters, a joke about finding Waldo, and a reminder that orange could be the new black for bar crawl patrons who choose to drive home while drunk (see below).
Remember to drink responsibly & plan a sober ride home. Over the limit & these costumes can become a reality. pic.twitter.com/38FxQlJFv9
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) November 1, 2014
Photos via @ArlingtonVaPD
Arlington County has approved a permit for the 2014 Clarendon Halloween Crawl, making it the first such event approved under the county’s new pub crawl guidelines.
The Halloween Crawl is set to take place on Saturday (November 1). It’s the first bar crawl permit issued since the County Board decided in July that bar crawls will be classified as “special events” and require a permit.
“As the County Board has said, our goal is to manage these events in a way that ensures the safety of participants and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and reimburses the County for crawl-related expenses,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan in a written statement.
The county manager’s office confirmed that under the new regulations, Halloween Crawl organizer Project DC Events is required to reimburse the county for event-related personnel expenses, such as the need for extra police officers. The event organizers currently anticipate around 3,000 people will participate in the crawl, so the county assigned 30 police officers to the area. More police support will be requested should the number of event attendees increase. The county manager’s office estimates the police presence and potential EMT services will cost around $9,000-$15,000.
The county doesn’t foresee the need for additional trash collection services; instead, it’s moving up Clarendon’s regular Monday pickup to Sunday. Just like with the police estimate, more waste management services can be added if necessary.
It will likely take up to two weeks to calculate the final costs and then send Project DC Events a bill. Per the regulations, special events organizers must reimburse the county within 60 days of the issuance of an invoice.
“This is an Arlington-based company and we are very confident we will not have any issues with them,” said Assistant County Manager Wilfredo Calderon.
Halloween Bar Crawl Begins Discounting — Tickets for the Nov. 1 Halloween bar crawl in Clarendon are being discounted from $15 to $9 on LivingSocial. So far, 63 tickets have been purchased on the site. A police source tells ARLnow.com that ACPD is planning on having “a number of officers specifically detailed to Clarendon for the crawl and throughout the night until a little after closing time.” [LivingSocial]
APS Finds Ways to Make Kids Want Veggies — The Arlington School Board was flabbergasted to learn that the school system’s food services division has apparently found a way to make kids want to eat their veggies. The secret: creatively pairing veggies with other foods. For instance, while spinach alone had an anemic 8 percent selection rate, a spinach and strawberry salad was selected by 78 percent of elementary students. [InsideNova]
What Foreign Students Like About Arlington — A group of exchange students from Germany and Ukraine recently talked about their experience staying in Arlington. They said they liked Arlington’s Metro access and bike paths, and were impressed by how proud Americans are of their country. However, our food got mixed reviews: “The food, they said, tastes good but is ‘a bit unhealthy.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Open House for TJ Site Evaluation — The Thomas Jefferson Working Group, which is charged with evaluating the feasibility of a new elementary school near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, will hold an open house Saturday, inviting the community to “learn about the process, review site materials, provide feedback and ask questions.” A vocal group of residents has spoken out against the potential loss of parkland at the site.
Kudos for Crystal City’s Startup Scene — Southern Alpha, a website that writes about startups in the southeastern U.S., is impressed with Crystal City’s recent entrepreneurial push. [Southern Alpha]
Participants are encouraged to wear their spooky and creative costumes to the event on Saturday, November 1. The crawl, dubbed “The rise of the day drinkers,” will take place from 2:00-9:00 p.m.
Tickets currently are available online for $15, and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $20. The fee gets participants a souvenir mug, food and drink specials at bars in Clarendon and a raffle entry. There will be prizes for the most festively dressed participants.
Bars along the crawl include Whitlow’s, Mad Rose, Clarendon Ballroom, Bracket Room and Hunan One. A full list of participating bars can be found on the Clarendon Halloween Crawl website.
(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Arlington County’s new special events policy, revised this summer to ensure bar crawl organizers pay for the support costs of their events, has raised eyebrows for appearing to require permits and cost reimbursements for vigils and protests.
The Special Events Policy, approved by the Arlington County Board on July 19, states “the county will charge special-event organizers for ‘personnel and services on a 100 percent cost-recovery basis unless prohibited by law.’ Permits must be obtained for ALL special events and demonstrations.”
The county defines demonstrations, for the purpose of the policy, as “any picketing, speech making, marching, holding vigils or religious services and other like forms of conduct, in Public Spaces, which involves the communication or expression of views or grievances, is engaged in by one or more persons, and has the effect, intent or propensity to attract a crowd or onlookers.”
However, county spokeswoman Mary Curtius said the administrative regulation is still being written, and the county will not ask those holding “First Amendment” activities like protests, rallies or vigils to recoup the county for its costs.
“The Policy is designed to address the impacts caused when large crowds gather in public spaces for any purpose, including demonstrations and other expressive activities,” Curtius told ARLnow.com in an email. “The Policy does not prohibit such gatherings, and does not apply to every instance where citizens or groups gather to exercise rights protected by the First Amendment. It only applies when the crowd that gathers is large enough to interfere with the use of the public space by the rest of the public, and presents significant public safety risks and other costs that will otherwise have to be borne by the public.
“This has been a part of County policy for a number of years,” Curtius continued. “To date, based on the size of the groups involved, a permit has not been required for a demonstration or other similar activity.”
While not necessarily required, the county is expected to encourage organizer of so-called First Amendment activities to apply for permits so police and county staff can make appropriate preparations. County officials said that any ambiguity in the policy will be clarified through administrative regulations.
Hat tip to Suzanne Sundberg. File photo
The new regulations will include fees charged to the organizers to recoup the cost of extra police and community resources required to deal with the nearly 5,000 people estimated to attend some of the crawls. The crawls, which have previously been organized without much input from the county, will now need to be approved in advance.
The specifics of how much organizers will have to be and the criteria under which pub crawls will be approved or rejected have not yet been determined. County Manager Barbara Donnellan said she plans to return to the County Board with the full, implemented policy before Halloween, which is expected to be the date of the next major pub crawl.
“We have, I believe, the highest percentage of 25-34 year olds as a percentage of our population than any community in the United States, and we embrace that group,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said during the meeting. “We embrace their vitality and the energy they bring to our community as a creative class and workforce, and at the same time we request and require that they respect others.”
The approved regulation was seen as somewhat of a compromise between residents who want fewer and smaller crawls and the organizers who want to see the crawls continue on unabated. The Board first discussed amending its special events policy, last updated in 2012, in April during budget discussions. At the time, Donnellan requested $45,000 for police overtime specifically to manage the pub crawls. The Board directed Donnellan to return with an updated policy.
In the meantime, the crawls drew another round of controversy after an attendee in June allegedly stripped naked before leading police on a car chase that ended with a crash in Clarendon. That incident, paired with a women alleging stripping naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office during a March bar crawl, helped bring the issue to the Board’s attention.
“It’s two incidents out of thousands of people,” Project D.C. Events co-owner Alex Lopez told ARLnow.com earlier this month. Lopez pointed out that neither happened inside a bar. Project D.C. Events organized both the March and June pub crawls at which the incidents take place, as well as crawls in D.C. that have occurred without public incidents. “You don’t hear about bar crawls in D.C. because nothing happens at them. If you say, ‘oh everything was peaceful in the last bar crawl,’ well, no one is going to read that.”
According to a county press release, about 1,130 people responded to an online survey about how best to manage the pub crawls, but only one member of the public spoke during the comment period: frequent County Board critic Jim Hurysz.
The motion passed 5-0 and the Board generally lauded the police and staff for their work in bringing a “common sense” solution to the issue.
“It’s an evolution to figure out how to satisfy the various kinds of people who live in Clarendon,” Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes said. Hynes lives just a few blocks from the epicenter of the pub crawls in Clarendon. “People don’t want Clarendon’s reputation to be only what happened at that last pub crawl. Business owners want people to come to Clarendon and eat and enjoy all the amenities.”
“We’re going to do this and monitor and see what happens,” Hynes continued, “and if this doesn’t work, we’ll be back here… to see if we need to take any more steps or not.”
Photo via Project D.C. Events
Pub crawl organizers should have to obtain a permit for each crawl and reimburse the county for the cost of extra police on the street.
That’s what Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is expected to recommend to the County Board at its meeting later this month. Donnellan will recommend that pub crawls be classified as “special events,” subject to the county’s special events policy, according to county officials.
Arlington’s special events policy was last updated in 2012. The policy is designed to ensure that adequate resources are available for special events while allowing the county to recover its support costs.
Classifying pub crawls as a special event is seen as a compromise, somewhere in between the crawl participants who would like the events to continue unabated and residents who see the crawls as a nuisance and would like them curtailed. The events will continue, but in a more regulated environment, provided organizers can afford the extra costs.
“Organizers would have to get a special events permit and would be required to cover the costs of additional police, fire and trash services — above core services — generated by their event,” Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius told ARLnow.com. “At this point, the Manager’s recommendation does not include any minimum or maximum allowed numbers of pub crawls — the applications will be reviewed as they come in and approved based on the availability of resources.”
Donnellan’s recommendation is coming less than a month after an attendee at the All American Bar Crawl (photos from the event, above) allegedly stripped naked and led police on a car chase that ended in a crash in Clarendon. In an email to a concerned constituent, County Board Chair Jay Fisette addressed the incident.
“I want you to know that we have no tolerance for this kind of behavior. At the same time I want to stress that this incident was highly unusual,” Fisette wrote. “Our top priority is safety. The Board has concerns about the impacts of pub crawls and in April asked the Manager to research options to address these impacts.”
Fisette went on to say that pub crawls can be regulated, but not banned.
Clarendon is one of our most vibrant and lively areas. We support the businesses there, and we welcome visitors who patronize our many great restaurants, shops and pubs. We want to keep it a great place to live, visit, dine, work and shop. It’s important to know that, under Virginia law, we can’t ban pub crawls. We can, however, regulate pub crawls to ensure that they are safe for all and effectively managed. Part of that regulation must include ways that the County can recover some of the costs associated with the stepped-up enforcement activities during the events, and trash and litter cleanup after the events. In the meantime, as part of the FY15 budget, the Board approved one-time funding ($42,000) for overtime costs in the Police department while a longer term strategy is developed to address the increasing frequency and cost associated with pub crawl events.
In addition to the June incident, a bar crawl attendee made the news in March when she allegedly showed up naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office and demanded that she be allowed to visit her husband, who was arrested earlier that day during a St. Patrick’s Day-themed pub crawl.
Both bar crawls were organized by Courthouse-based Project D.C. Events. According to the company, the two events attracted a combined 8,500-9,000 registered attendees.
“It’s two incidents out of thousands of people,” said Project D.C. Events co-owner Alex Lopez, who also pointed out that neither happened inside a bar. Lopez and fellow co-owner Mike Bramson said they work closely with Arlington County Police and with participating bars to ensure there’s plenty of security on hand.
Neither could explain why bar crawls in Arlington have resulted in high-profile incidents and controversy while D.C.-based crawls seem to go off without a hitch.
“We’ve taken the same steps in D.C. as we do in Arlington,” Bramson said.
“You don’t hear about bar crawls in D.C. because nothing happens at them,” said Lopez. “If you say, ‘oh everything was peaceful in the last bar crawl,’ well, no one is going to read that.”
Bramson and Lopez said they and other bar crawl organizers shouldn’t be on the hook for the cost of extra police staffing because the events are already generating thousands in extra tax revenue.
It’s the latest high-profile police incident involving a bar crawl attendee in Arlington. In March a Reston woman allegedly showed up naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office and demanded that she be allowed to visit her husband, who was arrested earlier that day. Both had attended the St. Patrick’s Day-themed Shamrock Crawl, according to police.
The drunken antics of bar crawl attendees continue to irk residents of the neighborhoods around Clarendon. Some are calling for additional restrictions, or even an outright ban, on bar crawls. On the other hand, supporters say bar crawls are fun events that provide a social outlet for younger residents and a big boost for local businesses.
What, in your opinion, should Arlington policymakers do about bar crawls, if anything? (Assume that reducing the frequency of bar crawls is inclusive of any changes in police staffing you might support.)
There was “chaos” on the streets of Clarendon Saturday night when a naked bar crawl attendee ran from police, hopped in a car and led cops on a high speed chase that ended in a crash.
Just past 8:00 p.m., police say a man who had been participating in the All American Bar Crawl stripped naked in Goody’s (3125 Wilson Blvd) pizza restaurant. The man, described as a black male in his 20s, left his clothes in the restaurant and ran outside, where police quickly gave chase, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The man hopped into a car — police couldn’t say if it was his car — and took off. Police cruisers followed, and chased the drunk man through an adjacent neighborhood. The man then made it back to Clarendon and started going the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, before striking two parked vehicles near the intersection with N. Highland Street, Sternbeck said.
The man — still stark naked — jumped out of the car window and started running, but was soon tased by police and taken into custody, according to Sternbeck. He was taken to Virginia Hospital Center as a precaution, and is expected to be booked at the Arlington County Detention Center tonight on numerous charges including indecent exposure.
A large crowd witnessed the incident, Sternbeck noted. One witness on Twitter said the largely intoxicated crowd that gathered started chanted “USA” as the nude man was detained.
NBC 4 tweeted the following photo of the arrest.
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) June 29, 2014
Photo (top) courtesy Keith Hall
Organizers say “thousands” of patriotic partiers are expected to flock to local watering holes like Clarendon Ballroom, Velocity Five, Bracket Room and Mad Rose Tavern, which are among the 14 participating bars announced so far for the event.
Participants — who are encouraged to dress in red, white and blue — receive specials at each bar, a “signature freedom mug,” “patriotic party beads,” $2 pizza slices at Bronx Pizza and raffle tickets.
This is not the first year for the All American Bar Crawl, which is being held in advance of the Fourth of July. The event was also held in Clarendon last year.
Arlington County policymakers are currently considering measures to impose additional restrictions or fees on bar crawls.
A month after a particularly rowdy St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl this year, the county announced in April that it’s exploring the idea of establishing new regulations for pub crawls, perhaps also providing a bigger police presence and making crawl organizers pay for the police and medical support.
Meanwhile, the county has created an online survey, asking those who live and work in Arlington for their thoughts on setting a time limit for bar crawls; a cap on the number of bar crawls per year, per month or per neighborhood; and who should pay for police, fire department and street cleaning services.
The one area where there is nearly universal agreement: bar crawl organizers, not the county, should pay for the added police, fire/EMS and street cleaning services.
There was also a free-response section for “other views and suggestions” on bar crawls. Opponents of the bar crawls — who seem to outnumber those who support such events in the survey’s “responses” section — didn’t hold back.
Excerpts of some of their responses:
- “Bar crawl participants should be prohibited from entering residential areas adjacent to the commercial area where the bar crawl occurs, unless they (1) can demonstrate they live there, or (2) have parked there and pass a breathalyzer test.”
- “Beer bottles in my yard; drunks found sleeping on neighbors’ porches… I think the hours of the crawl need to be limited… much, much too long.”
- “‘Bar crawling’ needs to be sharply curtailed. The noise and public urination at these events lowers property values, resulting in lower tax revenues for the County. Even worse, the binge drinking that occurs at these events can prove fatal to the drinker.”
- “I am shocked that our county board promotes public drunks and for MONEY no less… What kind of a reputation does that render?”
- “Organizers should need to obtain a license/permit to hold such an event, and that should cost money. “
- “We are not U St (I don’t want to live there), so an overabundance of large professional bar crawls would not be pleasant for those who have lived here for a while. I would be more in favor of an event where they shut down streets where the crawls are located, hopefully making it safer for both drivers and revelers.”
- “I think these are totally inappropriate events. They encourage binge drinking, littering, public obscenity, assault, and other bad behavior. I have seen a group of 40-50 bar crawlers walking through my neighborhood (Lyon Park), directly in front of my yard in broad daylight. They were drinking from solo cups, swearing loudly and littering — and this was only on the way TO the event.”
- “We already have bar crawl participants throwing up on lawns in the Clarendon area. It is unfair to expect people who live nearby to absorb this level of nuisance. Bar crawls also model bad behavior for Arlington teens.”
- “My main concern with bar crawls isn’t the crawls themselves (although they have an annoying impact on parking availability), its the long-term impact they may have on the character of the business’ that move into the area. There’s been a trend over the last few years for restaurants to close down and be replaced by ‘sports bars’ and other establishments dedicated solely to getting smashed.”
- “Residents with or without kids should not have to put up with the additional late night noise and other nonsense (fights, vomit, public urination, black outs requiring paramedics, petty property crimes) that can reasonably be expected to happen from time to time when dealing with groups of drunken pub crawlers.”
- “The police and fire/EMS are busy enough on regular weekends and holidays without adding unnecessary insanity and work. Actually, the more I think about this, the more I think we don’t need bar crawls at all. They’re more of a headache than they’re worth.”
There were also comments generally supportive of bar crawls:
Reporter Embeds with Clarendon Bar Crawl — Reporter Dan Zak embedded himself with revelers participating in the Cinco de MEGA-Crawl over the weekend. He found plenty of loud, opinionated young people — one of whom compared Clarendon to Brooklyn — but he apparently did not find any public urination, vomiting or destruction of property worth noting. [Washington Post]
Parents Rip Board on Autism Program Cut — Parents of children with autism swarmed the Arlington School Board’s budget meeting, angry with a proposed $270,000 cut to a program that provides assistants for autistic students and their teachers. [InsideNova, Fox 5]
Bracket Room Facing Backlash? — A backlash seems to be forming against so-called “female-friendly” restaurants. Some women say the designation is insulting. One such restaurant mentioned in an article about the backlash: Clarendon’s the Bracket Room, which has billed itself as a female-friendly sports bar. [The Week]
Preservation Arlington Mourns 2013 Losses — The group Preservation Arlington is lamenting the loss of 179 single-family homes lost in Arlington in 2013. The group is also marking the loss or impending loss of the Blue Goose building; part of the Arlington House Woods and Arlington National Cemetery’s Seneca sandstone perimeter wall; and a number of garden apartment buildings. [Preservation Arlington]
Ft. Myer Road Closed – Cyclists who bike on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall may be impacted by a road closure on the base. McNair Road is closed from Lee Avenue to Marshall Drive due to “road damage.” The closure is expected to be in place until Monday. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen