Ohio University students and bar-goers decorated Court Street with their St. Patrick’s Day spirit nearly a week early Wednesday, donning aptly colored shirts, pants, wigs and hats to celebrate what truly matters to them: beer.
Green Beer Day — characterized by colored beer and its pseudo-St. Patrick’s Day-feel — began as a way for students to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day while OU was still on the quarter system, which caused Spring Break to fall on the March 17 holiday.
“I feel like a lot of people just want to go out on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Evan O’Neill, a senior studying economics. “What (Green Beer Day) is for us is what St. Patrick’s Day is for the rest of the world.”
Although Green Beer Day started as a Miami University tradition, some OU students maintain the celebration has become thoroughly Athenian.
“It’s not like we’re trying to be like Miami,” O’Neill said.
Rebecca Klingensmith, a senior studying mathematics, echoed the sentiment of most bar-goers Wednesday afternoon.
“We can do it better than Miami,” she said.
Jonathan Holmberg, a bartender at Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, 24 W. Union St., said bars don’t usually add the green coloring to the beer they serve.
“The distributers pre-make it and bars order it in advance,” Holmberg said.
Although not all bars offer the strangely colored drink on Green Beer Day, many allow patrons to bring their own green dye or food coloring. Holmberg said Jackie O’s offered Irish beers on Wednesday, but not dyed beer.
“As a brewery, we don’t do it,” he said.
Students weren’t hard-pressed to find other establishments serving the green beer by glass, pitcher or aquarium, however. Green Beer Day, some said, made for a good excuse to “day drink.”
“It’s the only time I can drink on a weekday, and it’s like a fest,” O’Neill said.
Students either took to the bars after a long day of classes or skipped their courses altogether.
“It’s the day you don’t really care about classes,” said John Sulek, a junior studying education. “You go to spring break and have fun, and then you come back and have green beer waiting for you.”
Both the green beer and skipped classes have become an annual rite of passage for devotees to the college town celebration.
Levi Creeger, a senior studying video production, said he used one of his class’ two allotted “skips” to take the day off to celebrate.
“It’s really my personal favorite OU holiday,” Creeger said.
Creeger said he’s been celebrating Green Beer Day since his freshman year.
However, some bar-goers took a break from their Court Street crawl just long enough to attend class. Andrew Dolan, a junior studying chemical engineering, said he attended all of his classes Wednesday, though that wasn’t the case last year.
“It was a struggle,” he said.
Green Beer Day also served as a warm-up for this weekend’s fests.
“It’s the first time you can go out and it’s warm and it’s the start of fest season,” said Allison Holt, a junior studying marketing.
Former OU student Clauden Zanolli decided to make his Mill Fest trip a few days early to enjoy the unusually colored beer.
“Regardless of (whether) it’s raining or cold, we’re going to go out,” Zanolli said. “It’s always so much fun.”