Bridge Street Run


Bridge Street Run: an Oswego Tradition

Bridge Street run is fast approaching. The annual bar crawl of Oswego is almost here. As the Spring 2014 semester begins to wrap up, the community of Oswego begins turning its attention to the upcoming BSR. This year BSR will take place on the last day of classes at SUNY Oswego, on May 9th.

The city of Oswego annually holds Bridge Street Run on the last friday of classes. According to legend the tradition of BSR originally began with a group of students starting it in the 1960’s. BSR has evolved over the years with the City of Oswego along with the student body of Oswego that participates.

Today BSR is essentially a bar crawl that takes place over a 2 mile stretch of Bridge street in downtown Oswego, NY. This bar crawl consists of around 15 different bars that openly participate in this event. The unofficial rule of BSR is that the individual would attempt to drink one drink at each bar they enter over the span of the event. This supposed heavy drinking done by all participants brings about very different opinions on the event depending on who is asked.

SUNY Oswego students have helped to not just continue the tradition of BSR but have helped it to grow in popularity every year. BSR has grown in popularity so much that it also attracts regular citizens of Oswego. This influx of people added with the student body makes BSR quite a show for bystanders. “BSR is by far the best day to look forward too,” said Nick Evans a senior at SUNY Oswego.

The students of SUNY Oswego anticipate the last day of classes, in order to celebrate the end of another school year. Every year students flock to Bridge Street to try their luck at surviving BSR. For the seniors of SUNY Oswego it marks possibly their last time to really go out and celebrate with friends before finals week and graduation.

The fact that Oswego is a college town with various bars naturally brings to mind the issue of underage drinking. This is a hotly debated topic when it comes to BSR and who supports and is against this event. But for people who are finally of legal drinking age and are participating for the first time in this event it holds that much more excitement. “Yeah im excited to see what all the hype is about finally, just to like talk to and meet people, since I’m leaving as a senior,” said Carly Brundige a senior at SUNY Oswego.

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Not just the students of Oswego love Bridge Street Run. The 15 official bars listed and other bars who may choose to participate in BSR get a huge spike in revenue due to this event. These bars should expect crowds of people throughout the day. Most bars generally look at this event as a great way to make some big money before all the college students go home for the summer. “BSR gets really crazy but I love working it you get to see some pretty crazy and funny stuff,” said Olivia Cantanucci bartender at The Raven.

Along with profits bars there is also a concern about the use of fake ID’s and underage drinking as well. Some bars like Alley Cat have invested in a new scanner which they scan all ID’s with. While the scanners work well some bar owners are still unsure about them. Some other bars have devised a system of having bouncers double ID or IDing whenever a person buys a drink. As much as BSR is known for its fun and celebration, ultimately these bars are responsible for still following the law. “There isn’t anything wrong with the seniors celebrating but this event is proctored seriously. Old City has always been known for being a very hard bar for underage kids to sneak in, a scanner is only as good as the person running it. I personally trust my trained bouncers more than a machine,” said Larry Clotzko owner of Old City Hall.

Many of these bars and BSR itself advertise for this event as far away as the Syracuse are in order to draw in larger crowds and in turn more money coming into the community.

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SUNY Oswego has another approach when it comes to BSR and the student population. The school is very concerned with the possibility of an underage student being admitted into a bar using a fake ID. This sets the school up for a potential lawsuit if anything were to happen due to the excessive drinking habits that take place during BSR. “Last year two students were arrested for jumping off the bridge. This event is a legitimate concern for the students safety,” said  Dr. Richard Kolenda the Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life and Housing.

The college recognizes the significance of the tradition of BSR and the need for the seniors want to celebrate. However it is hoping for an alternative event to possibly develop to help ease the tension created during this event. “We do put on a non-alcoholic event on-campus, it could definitely turn into something bigger if it had more support,” said Kolenda.

Bridge Street run as of now is a very engraved event in Oswego’s Community whether it be ultimately good or bad. As long as the city of Oswego sees profit from this event and it is viewed by the participants as an anticipated event it will be hard for any “positive” change that the school would like to see happen, actually happen. “The bars are going to look out for students health as best as possible, but really all the bar owners want is the money,” said Kolenda.