HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Dranksgiving, Drunksgiving, Wacky Wednesday, whatever you call it, it’s one of the biggest bar nights of the year.
People come home for the holidays and that means getting together at these bars, but it can give PennDOT and law enforcement a headache, and we’re not talking the hangover type.
“It’s the people you haven’t seen for quite a while. Everybody gets together and the one common denominator is everyone goes out drinking together,” said Ron Kamionka, owner of several downtown bars.
But not everyone shares the love.
“I really do not like these nights,” PennDOT spokesperson Fritzi Schreffler said.
With penny drinks and deals for the taking, Schreffler fears it’s bad decisions in the making.
“Instead of just enjoying themselves and maybe having a drink or two and being responsible, it seems like you have to go out and drink as much as you can,” Schreffler said.
Schreffler says during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday last year, state police averaged five DUI arrests an hour.
“Between the state police and the municipal police, there will be roving patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout the area,” Schreffler said.
Kamionka says he has his own checkpoints. He doubles up on security staff and each employee goes through alcohol training.
“We’re licensed in the state of Pennsylvania, so we’re responsible to not over-serve our customers. That’s the most important thing we do in this business,” Kamionka said.
He says ride-sharing has made his business a lot easier, but with looming surcharges threatening a popular night out, a designated driver is always a solid choice.
“That is not when you get to the bar and you start drinking, and you figure out who’s had the least to drink. It’s who’s had nothing to drink,” Schreffler said.
Because even drinking a little could mean losing a lot.
“If you don’t care about yourself, care about your family that’s gonna have to spend the holidays with that empty seat at the table,” Schreffler said.
“Having a good time is great, being alive the next day is more important,” Kamionka said.
Budweiser and Lyft are partnering for the weekend, offering a $10 dollar voucher for a ride using the code “DRINKWISERPA.”