Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl raises money for a cause

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Blair Ballou

The second annual Saint Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl took participants to a plethora of Hattiesburg drinking establishments to celebrate with beer and treasure hunting.  Starting at local brewery Southern Prohibition and moving to the mainstay businesses of Front Street Bar, Fairley’s Wings and More, the Porter and the Shop Downtown, the crawl ended with a block party at Blu Jazz Café.

The pub crawl took place March 16 starting at 3 p.m. and chugged on into 7 p.m. The Hattiesburg Junior Chamber hosted the crawl to raise money for the city of Hattiesburg to purchase wire covers to go over the cords at live events such as Live at Five, according to the program manager for JCI Miranda Williams.

“We noticed that when they have events at Town Square Park, you have a difficult time if you are in a wheelchair rolling over the cords and it is also a hazard for anyone walking because you can trip over the cords,” Williams said. “We’ve taken a community event and turned it into a fundraiser to help the community.”

The event cost participants $25 to get signed up, and receive a t-shirt made by the Shop Downtown. They could also  participate at $20 without a shirt. With 52 participants, JCI raised $733 compared to $450 raised with between 20 and 30 participants last year.

“[The turn out] is pretty good,” The Shop Downtown owner Heath Kleinke said. “We actually burned the screens setting them up this morning, and we are printing on demand.”

Heath Kleinke said he wants to make a spot of pub crawling with tokens that amount to real-world cash that can be turned in to the shop like a gift card. They currently have $5 tokens, but Klienke said they would make different amounts if the tokens are well-received.

“Hopefully we can do more pub crawls in the future—not just one every now and then but one a month,” Kleinke said. “We could have the bigger ones two or three times a year kind of like the Super Bowl.”

Kleinke said he has been working on pub crawl maps for Hattiesburg. He said the reason why these crawls have and will gain more popularity is due to the Hattiesburg open container law Major Toby Barker worked on called the “to-go cup bill” which allows patrons to carry alcoholic beverages outside of bars around Hattiesburg downtown district.

One participant utilizing this bill for the pub crawl was director of sales and marketing at the Indigo Hotel Kelsey Barrett. This was her first time attending this specific pub crawl.

“Two is nothing. We are going to be truckin’ along. I’m going to make it [to the end of the crawl],” Barrett said. At the time of the interview, Barrett had only two beers but vowed at least one more at each of the five businesses participating.

“We were just looking something to do on Saint Patrick’s Day slash Saturday,” Barrett said gesturing toward her two friends. “I’m having a blast.”