By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — ONEONTA — Green beer, corned beef and camaraderie were St. Patrick’s Day highlights, some revelers downtown said Sunday.
College students and local residents, many wearing green attire, strolled to bars downtown, gathering in clusters of undergraduates and townies. Green hats in assorted styles, plus some costumes, added to a festive atmosphere.
Oneonta city police said they had issued two or three tickets for underage drinking by 8:30 p.m. and had checked out about five house parties Sunday, but no major incidents had developed.
“We’re pretty happy about that,’’ Lt. Douglas Brenner said. “It was as expected.’’
The department had eight officers on patrol, about double the usual staffing, starting at noon Sunday, when bars legally were allowed to open.
Dana Oriti and Alexa Schieferstein, 22, students from the State University College at Oneonta, wore bright green T-shirts that said “Drink Triple, See Double, Act Single.’’
“We just came out because it’s St. Patrick’s Day,’’ Oriti said, while standing outside The Sip & Sail Tavern on Water Street at about 5:30 p.m. The bar’s green-colored beer was likely the result of added food coloring because it tasted like regular beer, she said.
“Usually we don’t come out on Sundays,’’ Schieferstein said. “It’s pretty empty actually.’’
Police checked about five house parties, Brenner said, but no arrests were made. Some neighbors had reported the gatherings, where participants were asked to take activities inside, he said.
“There were some house parties, but nothing that really got out of control,’’ Brenner said.
Ambulances responded to two reports of excessive drinking, Brenner said, and one person was taken to A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital for treatment.
While on patrol Saturday, Oneonta police made two arrests for drunken driving, Brenner said, as the department participated in STOP-DWI enforcement.
On Sunday, city police, Otsego County sheriff’s deputies and University Police held a traffic check point on Ravine Parkway, Brenner said. About five traffic tickets were issued, he said.
At 8 p.m. Sunday, a party continued with pipers playing Irish music at Legends Filling Station at the corner of Main and Market streets, and the crowd inside cheered and clapped.
Spending St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day to celebrate and be with friends and acquaintances, other revelers said Sunday.
“You see people you don’t usually see,’’ Claire Hawthorne of Oneonta said at about 6 p.m. Sunday, standing outside The Copper Fox at Clinton Plaza and holding take-out orders of corned beef. St. Patrick’s Day sparks “community camaraderie,’’ she said.
However, the weather, with temperatures in the 30s during the day, kept some activities at bay, police said.
Business was “OK’’ at Hot Rocker Hot Dogs, owner Vince LaRocca said early Sunday night, while parked on Chestnut Street Extension.
LaRocca said he knew college students would be out Sunday and he wanted to boost business on St. Patrick’s Day, which was his third weekend out.
“A little brisk out,’’ he said. “That’s one drawback to the job.’’