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Green Beer Day in Oxford: How it looks and who’s out

Students fill Brick Street to celebrate Green Beer Day.
Students fill Brick Street to celebrate Green Beer Day.

This is a developing story that will be updated with information throughout the day.

Miami University students’ tradition of Green Beer Day (GBD), a day-long drinking celebration that takes place the Thursday before spring break, is back in full swing after two years.

In 2019, the celebration was essentially canceled by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, it was hampered by restrictions and attracted less students.

12 a.m.

This year, some students began GBD festivities as soon as the clock struck midnight.

Bryce Hart, a senior public administration major, was one of these students. He planned to stay up all night to make up for lost time.

“I had a real Green Beer Day my freshman year, and it wasn’t really real because I was 18,” Hart said. “Now, I’m 22. I didn’t have a Green Beer Day sophomore year or junior year.”

Hart said he enjoys having a tradition like GBD to participate in.

“[Miami students] kind of turned it into [their] own little thing,” Hart said. “It’s cool to have a tradition away from other schools.”

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As midnight rolled around and Miami students started celebrating, businesses brought out their signature GBD merchandise and menu items. For Bagel & Deli, this meant its famous green bagels.

Emma Muhlenkamp, a manager at Bagel & Deli and a senior, said the colored bagels are a fun part of working on GBD.

“We use all the green bagels from the night on whatever [customers] order … so we’re trying to do as many as possible,” Muhlenkamp said.

Muhlenkamp worked until 3 a.m. and expected the day to be hectic and busy for the bagel shop.

“Usually it’s pretty crazy, like equal to a Saturday all day through for 24 hours straight,” she said. “But we’re expecting it to be bigger this year just because the last two years have been tough.”

Reporting by Contributing Writer Ryann Beaschler and Asst. Campus & Community Editor Shr-Hua Moore

2 a.m.

While university officials and law enforcement are weary of GBD celebrations, one anonymous student said it’s no different than any other weekend of the year.

“I think being in college is dangerous and harmful, so I don’t think [GBD] is anything out of the usual,” they said. “It’s what would happen on a Saturday [but] on a Thursday.”

At the Phi Delt Gate, one group of students said GBD is part of Miami’s culture, whether the university endorses it or not.

“I think it is unique, and I love Miami for it,” one of the students, Re, said. “It is actually amazing, because it’s something we can celebrate, it’s a tradition.”

Another student, Rachel, said the event is part of what makes Miami unique.

“I was talking to my friends from other colleges about it, and they had no idea what it was,” Rachel said. “It was really interesting to have something that was specific to our school.”

The university has several counterprogramming alternatives for students who don’t want to venture Uptown today. For those who do, Rachel said Resident Life staff has been effective at helping students stay safe.

“The [Resident Assistants] have been really good at reminding us about pacing ourselves,” Rachel said. “In our sorority, they’re really like, ‘Be conscientious of everything you’re doing and make sure you’re staying safe and traveling in packs …’ Everyone’s safety is the most important thing.”

Reporting by Contributing Writer Riley Peters

8 a.m.

Police were never far from sight as the sun dawned on Uptown Oxford this GBD.

Vehicles marked as the Oxford Police Department (OPD), Oxford Fire Department (OFD), Miami University Police Department (MUPD) and even Citizens on Patrol made regular rotations down High Street, Church Street, Spring Street and Campus Avenue. One parking enforcement officer sat outside the police department in front of a booted car.

While bars in Oxford couldn’t open until 5:30 a.m., students started celebrating much earlier in the morning.

Ethan Cook, an employee at Skipper’s Pub, started his morning at 3:30 a.m. He’s been a staff member for more than a year, but this is his first time working on GBD.

“We sold out of all of our breakfast stuff within the first hour,” Cook said. “We had about 250-ish people [the] first hour, maybe 120 [the] next hour.”

By 7:15 a.m., business had slowed down as students began entering  Brick Street Bar & Grill, with just a few tables of students inside Skippers and none sitting outside.

“[It was] definitely busier than I expected at first,” Cook said. “This is about what I thought it was going to be like the whole time. I didn’t expect there to be a line out the door to the gate outside when I got here.”

Next door, Gina Vale, junior supply chain and operations management major, sat outside Bagel & Deli with a friend. She started her day at 4 a.m. with a trip to a fraternity house before stopping by Brick Street when it opened.

Vale said her day is going well so far.

“It’s exactly what I expected,” Vale said. “I’m going to bed exactly after I eat. I’m so excited, it’s been great.”

After she sleeps, Vale said she’ll look for other plans to fill the rest of her day.

Businesses like Kofenya and Starbucks opened their doors to patrons this morning, as well. In the Uptown Starbucks, five students waited for drinks at 7:30 a.m.

“It was pretty slow at first, but now it’s getting pretty busy,” said Grace, an employee at Starbucks. She showed up at 4:30 a.m., and the store opened an hour later. “It’s a pretty normal opening shift.”

Madison Wood, an education studies major, got to Brick Street when it opened at 5:30 a.m. By 7:30, she was ready to head home and sleep.

Last year, sickness got in the way of her GBD plans.

“I actually got COVID [last year], so I wasn't able to do anything with Green Beer Day honestly,” Wood said. “So this is my first real Green Beer Day … I’m enjoying it as much as I can [because] it’s my last semester.”

Photo by Sean Scott | The Miami Student
The sun rises over High Street on Green Beer Day, which falls on St. Patrick's Day this year.

One street north, Nick Murphy, senior English literature and entrepreneurship major, enjoyed a pitcher of green beer from Church Street Social as an ambulance pulled into McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

“I’ve been to a couple different bars,” Murphy said. “We stopped at Brick. We came here. We got some good food, we got some good drinks, and it appears as though there’s some commotion in the distance.”

Murphy started celebrating early in the morning, but he doesn’t have plans to slow down or sleep for the rest of the day.

“I'm not a big sleeper myself,” Murphy said. “Keep up what we've been doing — accelerate to a certain point. Love the sunshine. Love the daytime, excited for it to get going.”

The morning started to slow around 9 a.m. Many groups of students ate breakfast, and some occupied an unbusy Brick Street.

As of around 9:30 a.m., no citations were given out by OPD, said Police Lieutenant Lara Fening.

“We've had we've had a couple noise complaints we've had a couple litter complaints so far,” Fening said. “So far, there's really not much going out in town. Uptown is probably the main attraction right now. I think the yards are prepared. When you drive around town, they're prepared for parties, so I anticipate those happening as the day goes on.”

Reporting by Staff Writer Alice Momany and Meta Hoge and Campus & Community Editor Sean Scott

10 a.m.

As the day continues, students filter between classes and the bars on High Street.

Ty Hornsby, a senior supply chain and operations management major, grabbed a drink at midnight at Church Street Social to kick off the day but took a break to sleep before class.

“I’m about to get breakfast at Skipper’s, and then I’m going to go to class and then probably try and join in some of the festivities after that,” Hornsby said.

Some students, like Jillian Zuzolo, a junior family science major, aren’t participating in the drinking activities but still enjoy people watching during GBD.

“Drinking holidays are not my holiday, but we’re gonna go watch everyone else,” Zuzolo said. “We’re gonna take a walk and see if we see anything exciting.”

Kelly Mckewin and Leanne Stahulak, alumni from the class of 2021, returned to Oxford for GBD.

“I never really celebrated Green Beer Day when I was a student here because I didn’t go out before I was 21, and then COVID kind of took over my upperclassmen years,” Mckewin said.

Mckewin and Stahulak grabbed breakfast at Church Street Social before hitting bars Uptown and grabbing a green bagel from Bagel and Deli. 

Photo by Jake Ruffer | The Miami Student
One patron of CJ's showed up this morning in "full drip."

One bouncer at CJ’s said the public came decked out for the holiday this morning.

“Green Beer Day vibes are immaculate, I’d say,” he said. “You got guys like this fella out here wearing their full drip. My favorite is the dad in there, he’s got the green tracksuit on and a pinch cap, looks like he’s straight-up the Irish mafia.”

Reporting by Photo Editor Jake Ruffer and Staff Writer Alice Momany

12 p.m.

By noon, GBD activity had slowed down Uptown. 

The busiest places were anywhere offering food; people were seated at bars, restaurants and park tables, many of them eating lunch to refuel after a night of drinking. 

Sergio, a DJ at The Woods who asked just to be recognized by first name, said the bar had been busy the previous night, and slow in recent hours.

“It was a flash and then a whimper,” Sergio said. “Not exactly as we anticipated, and the story is the same across the board.”

He said the police seemed to be waiting for something to happen and it was calm enough for mailmen to walk up and down the streets.

Photo by Hannah Horsington | The Miami Student
Green Beer Day activity had lulled by noon, enough for mailmen to easily walk up and down the streets.

Reporting by Staff Writer Hannah Horsington.

3 p.m.

Kylie Miller, leasing manager at Annex apartments, and Alyssa McKoy, an employee at The Verge, handed out bottled waters, gatorades and snacks to students in Uptown park.

“[We’re] A) making sure people are taken care of and B) getting our names out there,” Miller said. “We’re primarily student housing.”

Miller said it’s been fun to interact with students and watch them having a good time Uptown.

Photo by Luke Macy | The Miami Student
Kylie Miller and Alyssa McKoy hand out water and snacks to students celebrating Green Beer Day.

Sarah Perry, a junior French, violin performance and music education, played her fiddle by Skyline Chili for anyone willing to listen to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, many of which were GBD partiers.

“I’m from an Irish family, so I like to go about and just spread Irish music and joy on St. Paddy’s Day,” Perry said. “This year it just happens to also be Green Beer Day, so I am making a pretty penny which is nice.”

Photo by Luke Macy | The Miami Student
Sarah Perry plays Irish music with her fiddle in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Liam Pegg, a senior marketing major, celebrated his third GBD this year, after participating in his freshman and junior years. After he finished his classes, he celebrated by attending a party at a fraternity house.

“I had class earlier so I had to wait until I got out of class to really start the festivities, but it’s been fun since I got out.” 

Reporting by Contributing Writer Luke Macy

5 p.m. 

While not all students participated in drinking, the warm evening weather provided ample opportunity to get outside and celebrate the day. 

“My apartment’s [by Uptown] so we’ve been sitting outside, hanging out and listening to music,” said junior kinesiology major Paiten Riley. “I think that’s what we’re gonna do the rest of the evening, just relax a little bit and enjoy the weather – it’s beautiful out.”

For Evan Sweeney, a junior video game design major, St. Paddy’s Day is less about beer and more about banjos. Decked out in a leprechaun hat and wearing an Irish flag as a cape, Sweeney helped passersby get their Irish jig on with his banjo playing. 

“I’m just here to play some music,” Sweeney said. “I love Irish music and just kind of wanted to spread the joy that music brings me.” 

Photo by Reagan Rude | The Miami Student
Evan Sweeney plays his banjo to entertain Uptown passersby.

Tessa Ralinobsky, an employee at Steinkeller, said the restaurant has been busy since it opened at 4 p.m., although she is unsure whether it will stay that way as the night goes on. 

“Usually people end Green Beer Day a little bit earlier in the day so we’ll see if we get any late night business,” Ralinobsky said. “We still have our normal specials tonight of $9 liters and $9 burgers so we’re hoping people will come in for that.”

Ralinobsky said she’s glad to see that Green Beer Day has brought back some of its pre-COVID energy. 

“I think this year is quiet but people are definitely trying to make up for the last two COVID years,” Ralinobsky said. “It’s good to see more people out than the last two.”

While other students headed to Brick Street for their first stop of Green Beer Day, senior Emily Holmes began with Skyline Chili. 

“They have green spaghetti here … it’s a little weird,” Holmes said.

Photo by Reagan Rude | The Miami Student
Students take a break from Green Beer Day festivities to pet presidential dogs Ivy and Newton.

Some bars are making sure that only Miami students get to join in on the GBD festivities. Sean McCloskey, a senior information systems analytics major, had to adjust his plans so he could be with his non-Miami friend.

“[We were] at a darty earlier, then we tried to go to Brick but they wouldn’t let [my friend] in because he’s from UC,” McCloskey said. “Then we just got a drink at Corner.” 

For McCloskey, the shared experience of Green Beer Day is what makes it so popular at Miami. 

“I feel like everybody has this collective hive mind about Green Beer Day,” McCloskey said. “Skipping class, drinking green beer … it brings everyone together.” 

Reporting by Asst. Campus & Community Editor Reagan Rude

8 p.m.

At sunset, streetlights flicked on again as natural light dimmed. Action on the streets slowed down as GBD celebrators gave in to their hunger and retreated to restaurants.

“I don’t know about you, but Doughby’s sound pretty good to me,” said a passer-by, whose group of four was debating whether or not to go in.

Outside of Doughby’s stood Beau Hiner, the owner, who was taking a short break.

“Green Beer Day this year has been great,” Hiner said, “It’s like back to normal without COVID, which is nice.”

Unlike other restaurants, Hiner said his restaurant didn’t offer any Green Beer Day or St. Patrick’s Day specials, apart from intangible amenities.

“We play Irish music,” Hiner said. “They come in, play some Flogging Molly.”

Further down the street sat Kaya Giorgione, a senior psychology major, who had an eventful 24 hours.

“I started at 10 p.m. We went to a bunch of different frats and bars, then I ended up going home around like 5 a.m.,” Giorgione said, “... And I actually had a midterm today at 1. So I went to bed and I didn’t do anything after that.”

When asked for the most extraordinary feat that arose on this occasion, Giorgione had one candidate in mind.

“It’s definitely the frat house bathrooms,” Giorgione said, “... what you see in there will give you nightmares.”

Having enjoyed her second Green Beer Day since freshman year in 2019, Giorgione said she would come back to Oxford to celebrate this occasion.

“It’s probably gonna end badly, but it’s kind of exciting,” Giorgione said, “and in a sick and twisted way … It’s just interesting to see how everything goes down, how everyone kind of prepares for today.”

Some students like Charlie Valenti, a junior finance major, celebrated his second St. Patrick’s Day, rather than Green Beer Day, with the first being in Cleveland rather than Oxford. After a 10 a.m. class, Valenti embarked on an eventful journey in Oxford.

“I went to Fiesta Charra for lunch ... then I went back to my place at Gaslight and we kind of hung out on the roof because it was really sunny and nice out,” said Valenti, “ … then I went to CJ’s, and then Brick and now I’m at Doughby’s.”

Waiting for his Abraham Lincoln calzone, Valenti planned on going home to his dog, Merlin, who he said he was excited to see.

“Now that I’ve had my Green Beer Day, I’m excited to go back home, to my normal life,” Valenti said.

Reporting by Contributing Writer Sen Nguyen

10 p.m.

As the night wore on, the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority set up at the Phi Delt gates for a bake sale.

Gwendolyn Peters, a sophomore and director of philanthropy for the sorority, said they got to the gates around 8:30 p.m. and planned to stay until 2 a.m. She said they were raising money for the Arthritis Foundation to fight against juvenile arthritis.

“It definitely comes in waves. It feels like everybody comes in waves and then nobody does for a little bit. It’d be a little bit easier if it was spread out, but we’ll take any sort of fundraising we can get.”

Photo by Luke Macy | The Miami Student
Students gather to watch a March Madness game on the Beta Theta Pi lawn.

On the Beta Theta Pi lawn, a group gathered to watch a March Madness game on an outdoor screen.

Elsewhere, sophomores James Ogden and Megan Sparks had just wrapped up their shifts at Brick. The pair had been working since 5 p.m.

Both had one word for the vibe at the bar throughout the day — empty.

“It was dead,” Sparks said. “It was really empty … There were a fair amount of police patrolling around Uptown so that was probably for the best, and it was pretty empty inside. Skybox was pretty full because it was really nice outside, but the inside was completely dead.”

Reporting by Contributing Writer Luke Macy