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Our View: Pub crawl must be done responsibly
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You won't have to be Irish Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Monroe.

All you need is the ability to make it to the Square, and for at least about 700 people that could mean a really good time.

On Saturday, bars in and around the downtown area will hold the Celtic Pub Crawl for the third consecutive year. The event already has about 700 people registered, over 200 more than last year's event, and because of the tremendous interest reservations for the event had to be cut off, event organizer Tracy Hamilton said this week.

The crawl begins at 1 p.m. at Friendly Inn. Participants will be able to visit seven pubs in Monroe, including, Friendly Inn, Old Smokey, Doyle's Irish Pub, Turner Hall, French Quarter, Bartel's and Co. Tap, and Flanagan's Shenanigans. Check-in time for the event is 11:30 a.m. at Friendly Inn.

The event precludes the annual St. Patrick's Day parade around the Square at 5:17 p.m, Wednesday.

For $25, people receive a free drink at all the pubs and a long-sleeve T-shirt. The first 250 people who bring a non-perishable food item for the Green County Food Pantry will receive a free bottle coozie, Hamilton said. In addition, organizers of the crawl plan to donate $500 to the Monroe Theatre Guild.

A pub crawl in a town known for brewing beer - not as well known as for its cheese - is no surprise, in fact, it could be seen as a celebration of the city's brewing heritage.

Beyond celebrating the Irish in the community and their legacy here, and the city's brewing tradition, Saturday's event will almost surely bring in others to participate in the massive pub crawl. This should be boom for restaurants and bars on and near the Square. The organizers say there are even people arriving from Iowa and Illinois.

But, there is a strong message to keep in mind as Saturday's festivities get under way: A large-scale event encouraging consumption of alcohol could be a huge risk to public safety if the participants don't act responsibly.

The potential for a successful, business-generating event surely exists Saturday, but if there is even one injury - or worse - due to drinking then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle to drive home, any economic boost or celebration of traditions will be a waste.

To all who intend to celebrate Saturday's festivities please be careful and above all be responsible. Find a designated driver, or better yet get a little extra exercise and walk home or to the hotel or motel you are staying in that night.