Tips To Get Through Autumn Leaf Festival

Autumn Leaf Festival is this week Ladies! Here are some tips for surviving the week and bar crawling for you of-agers in Clarion.

1. Never drive drunk!

That could be the dumbest thing you ever do. You can harm other people or yourself. On top of how much traffic there will be with everyone coming into town, you better be careful. Clarion finally has Uber and Lyft. Use them. Use a trusted sober friend or walk. The weather may get chilly, but that is a price you will have to pay if you do not have a safe ride home.

2. Stay aware at all times!

Clarion is a relatively safe little town. This time of year does bring out some of the worst in people and it brings in strangers from all over the United States. You can never be too careful. Girls please try to carry  pepper spray with you anywhere you go alone or if there are two of you girls walking alone together. Day or night keep well aware of your sights. Protect each other. If you do not have a safety weapon, putting your keys between your fingers in a Wolverine like fashion should do the trick. Chances are you will have a wonderfully pleasant violent free week. Enjoy yourself but stay safe doing so.

3. There are plenty of police around

There are undercover police officers, state troopers, county and community police, and our university police all around town. To some, you may see them as a threat to ruining your good time. However, they are there to protect us. If you are up to no good, do it responsibly. If you need help, know that they are there for you. Just remember that they are there to do their jobs. Try not to give them too hard of a time for this festive time of year.

4. Bars will be charging a cover and raising the drink prices.

For those of you new to being 21, the prices that we get in town are so dramatically low that pre-gaming the bar should not even be a thing. In bigger cities like Pittsburgh, a shot of the cheapest alcohol that they have ranges from $7 to $12. In Clarion, during normal times, a shot is generally around $3. We have it really good in Clarion. During ALF, we have to raise the drink prices and request a cover charge because of how densely populated the town becomes. We cannot serve everyone all at once. At some point you drunks have to be shut off, whether it is by force or by your lack of finances, we do not care as long as we get to go home. This week is fun for the party goers and stressful for the party workers. We have to go home eventually.

5. Tip your bartenders

Yes, prices will be higher. Yes, there is a cover charge. No, the bartenders do not have a say in this. We are not the reason the prices go up. We do not benefit from the cover charge. All of that money goes to our employers while we work until we are burnt out to get you your drinks. You should always tip regardless, but especially during this time when some of us are pulling 13 hour shifts then going home to nap for a few hours before another 13 hour shift. We make the bare minimum. Our paychecks are affected by our sales. I have heard of bartenders in the past that have sold so much alcohol during Autumn Leaf Festival that they did not even get one of those paychecks that had a penny on them. They receive no paycheck. So, tip. On top of that, the good tippers get served faster and we recognize your face so that we give you better service than the man barking orders at us, ordering $50 worth of alcohol, and tipping us a generous (SARCASM) $1.

6. Watch your drinks!

Girls, I cannot stress this enough. Just as I mentioned keeping aware at all times when walking home, you should also be doing this at the bar. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DRINK UNATTENDED. There was a video I watched recently where a man did an experiment to show just how easy it is to drug someone’s drink. He of course warned them not to drink it, explained his experiment, and offered to buy a new drink for the victims. It is much easier than you think. He especially targeted women who asked their friend or significant others to watch their drinks. Watching a drink includes looking at it at all times. Your friends can get easily distracted. You can take your drink with you to the bathroom and hold it while you use the bathroom. It can be done. I have done it. As a bartender, I try my best to watch people’s drinks. Males and Females will leave their drinks and I will sometimes grab them to hide behind the bar until they return. I try my best, but I am not everyone’s mom. I can only do so much. Be responsible for your drinks.

7. Have fun!

Autumn Leaf Festival is a wholesome fun event. They have mouth-watering food, cute festivities, and a chance to enjoy this little “po-dunk town.” Enjoy it. I know I regret not doing every event during my years here. People love it so much that they return as alumni every year. It is a time for community and fun. Enjoy yourselves!