The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop Ohio University students, Athens residents and out-of-town students from celebrating the annual Green Beer Day on Wednesday, with hundreds of students flocking to Court Street to sip some green brews.
As with everything else for the past year, COVID-19 caused some changes to the local tradition. From about 3:30 p.m. through the end of the night, lines leaving bars wound down sidewalks on Court Street.
“I’ve been (to Green Beer Day) every year. There’s a lot more lines everywhere (this year), so that’s annoying, but it’s still fun,” Liz Williams, a junior studying integrated science education, said. “Everyone seems to be having a good time.”
Although some students felt overwhelmed or annoyed by the crowds, others anticipated the busyness and lines that the celebration brought. A few students even showed up to bars early to beat the students who were in class at 2 p.m. when the event started picking up speed.
“There's definitely going to be a lot of lines tonight,” Carley Mills, a junior studying Spanish education, said. “(My friends and I) tried to get out here early so that we wouldn't be unsafe in any way.”
For some, Green Beer Day was the first time out of the house since the pandemic started, including out-of-town visitors.
“This is my first time coming to Green Beer Day. But, as of right now, it seems like it’s a good time,” Bryce Harvey, a senior from Cleveland State University, said. “It’s pretty crowded, for COVID and everything. But, other than that, it’s a good time. I love OU!”
Despite months-long restrictions, multiple students walked the streets with their masks only half on or not on at all, and few students adhered to social distancing recommendations that have been in place for almost a year.
Although restrictions seemed relaxed out on the sidewalks, inside the bars, tables were spread apart and could only seat a limited number of patrons. Many waiting outside knew they were already guaranteed a table, but were waiting for the bar to no longer be at capacity.
“The cases are obviously going down, so people are probably gonna be letting their guard down a little bit more,” Joseph Balliett, a senior studying history, said. “Also, I know a lot of people around here are getting vaccinated…I’m a little worried, but I’m also hopeful.”
After a long quarantine and lockdown, many thought Green Beer Day was a good way to get out of the house and connect with their friends.
Students and residents enjoyed the festivities overall. Logan Leduc, a senior studying journalism, said he enjoyed drinking the same themed drink as his friends. Other individuals were making new friends throughout the evening or reconnecting with old ones.
“I kind of like (bars being less busy) because then I just get to sit here and have natural conversations with my friends,” Alexis McCollum, an Athens resident, said.
Even though the celebration revolves around the unique color of the beer, many students are just excited to start returning to normalcy alongside their friends.
“I think it's very easy for college kids to find a reason to have a party and enjoy life,” Garrett Pierce, a senior studying marketing, said. “It's very (natural) to what (students) already do.”
Abby Miller and Claire Schiopota contributed to this report.