Block Party is not at all something to look forward to, according to the manager of Bloomsburg’s Campus Beer distributor. While they see rising numbers in terms of revenue, it also means loads of preparation and precautions.
“We don’t look forward to it at all,” said Steve Kelly, the manager of Campus Beer. “Trying to coordinate all of the goings on and just all of the drunks that we have to deal with, it’s such a hassle.”
Campus Beer is one of the primary beer distributors in the town of Bloomsburg. Located on Iron Street, it is a conveniently located place for students looking to purchase beer. A large part of their revenue comes from their delivery service, where they offer free deliveries of beer to apartments and houses.
“It’s really the only day of the year when we need to regularly turn people away”, said Kelly. “We get people all day who are just belligerent and can’t be served. We’ve had all kinds of encounters, whether it’s kids using obviously fake IDs, people using credit cards that aren’t theirs, and the list goes on.”
However, Kelly says that the most difficult part of the day is dealing with all of the drunks.
“People are just too intoxicated. Kids are loitering out front, they’re incoherent, and they’re destroying our bathrooms. We’ve had to break up fights on a few occasions, and it’s all such a pain to deal with when our primary responsibility is supposed to be selling beer to our largest crowd of the year.”
Delivery driver hazards
Kelly also notes that the raucous atmosphere of Block Party can be dangerous for the delivery drivers who are trying to transport beer to the students.
“They have to deal with so much on that day. Drunk kids will cross the streets without looking, which is dangerous for everybody, not just the delivery drivers. There’s broken glass all over the road, which can lead to flat tires. We’ve had people try to steal beer right out of the trucks. We had an incident last year when one of our guys had to tackle someone who was running away with a case.”
Fetterman Avenue, a street which is always heavily populated on Block Party, has been described as a particularly difficult place to get beer to.
“Trying to deliver to Fetterman is a nightmare,” said Kelly. “There are so many people crowding the street that the drivers often have to park elsewhere and walk to the delivery point, and try to imagine walking with a couple cases of beer through a sea of drunks, it’s not a fun time.”
Kelly knows the hassles of being a driver on Block Party firsthand, as he was delivering on Fetterman Avenue during the infamous BearCat incident of 2013. He sums up his feelings on Block Party by stating that, as a day, it’s a mixed bag.
“Obviously it’s good for town businesses. Last year Uncle Paul’s Pretzel shop had its opening weekend on Block Party and they were selling out. The bars get a lot of business, which is also good. Really, it’s just a few bad apples that make the day hard to deal with. I also feel bad for the locals, because this is their town and some kids just get too wild.”
What have your experiences been like buying beer on Block Party? Have you ever been turned away because of you were too intoxicated? Let us know!
This article originally appeared on BlockPartyInsider.wordpress.com, a project for Mass Communications’ Spring 2016 Journalism Workshop. You can view all of the workshop’s work there.