St. Patrick's Day brings a sea of green to downtown SLO

Revelers in green hats, shamrock shirts and leprechaun costumes lined the streets of downtown San Luis Obispo on Wednesday to mark St. Patrick’s Day.

As those celebrating the holiday went into their downtown bar of choice, police patrolled the streets on foot, on bicycles and in cars.

“St. Patrick’s Day is the most celebrated holiday in San Luis Obispo because Cal Poly students are here, as opposed to holidays when school is not in session like New Year’s Eve or July 4th,” said Officer John Villanti of the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

As one of many St. Patrick’s Day celebration hotspots downtown, McCarthy’s Irish Pub at Marsh and Nipomo streets had a packed patio and a line that went to the street.

To prevent partiers from drunken driving, officers from the Morro Bay, Arroyo Grande and Cal Poly police departments, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, CHP and State Parks set up a checkpoint in the 800 block of Foothill Boulevard, east of Chorro Street, between 9 p.m. and 3 this morning.

The biggest problems for San Luis Obispo police on St. Patrick’s Day are public drunkenness, DUIs and assaults, Villanti said.

By 8 p.m., eight alcohol-related arrests had been made in San Luis Obispo. By that time on St. Patrick’s Day last year, 13 alcohol-related arrests were made, according to San Luis Obispo police.

According to Sgt. Jeff Smith, the decline in number of arrests is due to the holiday falling during finals week and closer to Cal Poly’s spring break. Many students have already left town, he said.