Pub Crawl doesn’t sit well with Main Street


Broken windows, littered streets, torn-down awnings, ruined flowers and public urination—these are the disturbances businesses on Main Street deal with as a result of alcohol consumption.

The general consensus among businesses in Downtown Brookings is that they are more OK with Hobo Day than Pub Crawl, and the frequent disruptions are just part of living in a college town.

“Hobo Day is a long standing tradition,” Twila Peterson, a retail saleswoman at Jackrabbit Central, said. “There’s no need to mess with it.”

Kirsten Gjesdal, the owner of Carrot Seed, said she closes her store early on Pub Crawl to avoid any issues. She also has cameras aimed at her door to make sure nothing is broken or stolen especially during Pub Crawl.

“It’s just part of running a business in a place with a lot of bars,” Gjesdal said.

Cheryl Meyer, the owner of Party Depot, has had to experience some destruction of property. Cheryl said the store windows have been broken twice. But besides that, the only other issue on their side of Main Street seems to be parking, unlike the trash that accumulates more near the bars.

“It can get pretty loud and scary at 2 a.m. because of the big mobs of kids,” Cheryl said. “So, luckily we close at 6 p.m.”

Cheryl also said on Hobo Day and Pub Crawl there are only ever a few people out of control, and the majority of people are fine. 

“I don’t want to criticize other businesses because they’re in business,” Cheryl said. “It mostly doesn’t affect us.”

Cubby’s does it’s best to keep things PG, Jeremy Deutsch said, a bartender at Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill.

“We try to keep everyone in line and safe,” Deutsch said. “We train our workers how to handle serving alcohol.”

Deutsch said drinking comes with being a college town, and most people are prepared for the alcohol consumption on big days like Hobo Day and Pub Crawl. 

“They’re a tradition, so everyone knows what’s coming,” Deutsch said. “Honestly, we have more issues on a regular Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday because we have less staff working.”

Trayce Meyer, owner of Artworks, said his store has not had a lot of problems over the years. The main thing is that people tend to urinate in his entryway. 

“I like to say we live in a town of incontinence,” Trayce said.

Like many other businesses, Trayce said that he doesn’t have a problem with Hobo Day because ever since the riot, there hasn’t been a whole lot of trouble. Pub Crawl is the event that can be kind of obnoxious, but this year wasn’t as bad compared to other years, he said. 

“What makes me the saddest is Pub Crawl used to be low-key and mellow,” Trayce said. “It was kind of started by this older, Irish gentleman, Buck Connelly. And they would paint a shamrock on the street, get one drink at each bar and be done probably by nine.”

Peterson said, in her opinion, drinking only really seems to be a problem with underage students, which she attributes to raising the legal drinking age.

“House parties and underage drinking is excessive,” Peterson said. “The drinking age for me was 18. Making them [students] wait was pretty much asking for trouble.”

Dan Hansen, Brookings City Council member and an assistant dean, also voiced some concerns about binge drinking.

“Any time there’s potential for someone to binge drink it’s a bit concerning,” Hansen said. “Certainly there’s ways to take in alcohol in a responsible manner in a social atmosphere that can be constructive and safe.”

The issue of house parties disturbing the community has never been brought to his attention in a formal manner since he has been part of the city council, Hansen said. But when it comes to house parties, it’s not necessarily something that needs to or can be decided on the city level. It is more so a discussion that needs to happen within neighborhoods on how to handle the situation.

“As a city council we just have to make sure all our citizens are making wise decisions, that we’re protecting the public, that we have resources available whether that be police or otherwise…if something gets out of control,” Hansen said.

Much like most businesses on Main Street, Hobo Day is a welcomed celebration for Hansen.

“Being a person who used to serve on the Hobo Day committee, it always has a special place in my heart,” Hansen said. “I think there’s a lot to Hobo Day and Hobo Week that goes beyond alcohol. Certainly there’s a group of people that partake in alcohol, but the vast majority of the people that do it, do it responsibly. It’s part of a bigger celebration.”

However, Hansen said when it comes to Pub Crawl, he struggles with it a little bit more.

 “One of the concerns I have about Pub Crawl is it happens early in the afternoon,” Hansen said. “It’s something as a parent I would avoid. And when I avoid it, it means I’m not spending money in downtown Brookings…and that’s revenue lost.”

Hansen said he believes the relationship between drinking and non-drinking businesses on Main Street have a positive relationship during most weekdays and weekends and coexist well. But, there may be room for improvement when it comes to Pub Crawl.

“It [Pub Crawl] also has a long tradition here at Brookings, but I think it’s a little less rooted in comparison to Hobo Day,” Hansen said. “Certainly I think there might be some potential for changes that could be made to make it maybe a little bit safer of an event and make it possible for downtown businesses that aren’t drinking establishments to coexist with those that are [during Pub Crawl].”

For business owners, it all comes back to being courteous.

“I wish people would be respectful of downtown,” Gjesdal said. “I know it’s hard to do when you’re drunk, but we’re working hard to make downtown a nice place, so please don’t break windows or rip up flowers.”