Bars, police gear up for St. Patrick’s Day and NCAA tourney celebrations

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — College basketball fans are counting down the hours until the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Butler, Purdue, and IU will all play their opening NCAA tournament games on St. Patrick’s Day.

Bars in Broad Ripple said they are ready to handle the large crowds, but they’re not the only ones hoping to cash in on the busy day.

“I’m from Columbus, Ohio, so I like Ohio State,” said street performer Nate Mays.

On the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and Guilford Avenue is where you will find Mays. He’s playing his guitar, hoping to make some tips.

“With the amount of people that are out right now you’re not going to do that well,” said Mays.

He said Wednesday has been slow, but Thursday may be a different story.

“The more foot traffic there is, the definitely better you’ll do,” said Mays. “It’s pretty hit or miss in general.”

Hundreds of people are expected to be out watching college basketball and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the city.

Bars and restaurants in Broad Ripple are anticipating those customers Thursday.

“You have the NCAA kicking off,” said Stephan Kelly, general manager at Kilroy’s Broad Ripple. “Butler playing at 12:40 p.m., IU at 7 p.m. and Purdue right in between there and also being St. Patrick’s Day, it’s going to be a busy day.”

Kelly said he’s looking forward to the business. He said his bar has already called for extra staffing and security to help.

“Just staffing up, getting all of our drinks ready, our drink specials up and running and plenty of products to sell to all the guests,” said Kelly.

But with people spending money on drinks, police will also be out looking for drunk drivers.

Multiple DUI checkpoints will be set up across Marion County starting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Kelly said the goal is for everyone to make it home safe and sound.

“We will always be glad to get anybody an Uber ride, anybody a taxi or anything they need to get out of here and get home safe,” said Kelly.

The sobriety checkpoints are part of a project called “DUI: Taskforce Indiana.”

Multiple agencies are involved, including IMPD, Indiana State Police, as well as departments in Speedway, Lawrence, Cumberland, and Beech Grove.

Police say if you’re going to be out drinking, please do it responsibly.

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