HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — LepreCon, the annual St. Patrick’s-themed bar crawl, took to the streets of Hoboken on Saturday.
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, it’s one of the city’s biggest drinking days, often followed by large-scale brawls.
But this year, hundreds of police were on hand to keep the peace.
The annual bar crawl kicked off with early-morning drink that run late into the evening.
“We’re trying to have some fun tonight,” one reveler said.
“We’ve been drinking at a bar,” another added.
There were 250 police officers patrolling the area Saturday, including some from other towns and the Port Authority.
“We’ve had a day with really nobody fighting police officers yet,” Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante said.
“We don’t want people being injured. We don’t want people going to hospitals,” he added.
Chief Ferrante said in the last quarter of 2017, 16 officers were assaulted trying to break up bar-related fights.
So last week, the city’s Alcohol and Beverage Control board suspended five bars’ liquor licenses for LepreCon. Two others voluntarily closed on their own for the day.
With 120 bars still open Saturday, state ABC investigators made sure all were in compliance.
At least two arrests were made and two dozen summonses were issued, including one for a disorderly house party and another for a person jumping in the Hudson River.
“Something very dangerous, but something that these type of days bring,” the chief said.
Bar owners estimated around 2,000 people showed up – half of last year. Michael Citarella, who helps run five bars, said he brought in extra bouncers, barricades and bathrooms.
“People sometimes think bar owners want unruly people. We don’t want them here – zero tolerance,” he said.
Some attendees were disappointed.
“I heard in the past 10 years it’s the smallest crowd it’s ever been. So yeah, it’s pretty upsetting,” said one woman.
“This is like a big component for the economy in this town. So to hear it’s low is upsetting,” one woman said.
“It’s pretty calm tonight. I thought it was going to be a lot worse,” a man added.
Many bars were expected to stay open until 2 a.m. Sunday.