Green Beer Day habits may change, but traditions continue

By Ethan Burke

The storied tradition known as “Green Beer Day” swept through Oxford once again, with a whirlpool of alcoholic beverages and outfits that would make the Green Giant blush.

The early morning hours attract not only undergrads looking for a drink (or several), but also alumni looking to reconnect with their old community. Musician Jon Paul Dixon, class of 2016, recently returned to Oxford after his residence in Nashville was flooded. Dixon took to the streets as GBD’s go-to busker.

“Tonight I’m here to have a vibe, play songs, and make sure nobody walks out in the street,” Dixon said.

Other people saw an opportunity to raise money for their organizations. Three representatives of Miami’s Advancing Women in Entrepreneurship club set up at the Phi Delt Gates to sell cookie dough. Though they had just started, they anticipated a successful night.

Celebrations begin in some corners at midnight Thursday and will continue all the way to midnight Friday. However, Uptown becomes temporarily dark and quiet because popular bars are required by law to close for at least three hours between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Those closures make participants move to Oxford’s house party scene instead.

At Mac & Joe’s, 21 E. High St., business was “kind of like any other day,” according to a manager who would not give her full name.

“The university has cracked down on underage drinking and professors have started putting exams on Green Beer Day,” she said. As a result, she said, “we don’t get that busy anymore. It used to be more fun when I was a kid.”

GBD is also marked by increased presence from the Oxford Police Department.

“Everyone who normally works today is in uniform,” said OPD Lt. Lara Fening, who was on patrol duty Thursday morning, something she does not normally do.

As of 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oxford Police received five littering or noise complaints, issued three citations for disorderly conduct and arrested an individual for operating a car while intoxicated.

Fening said she also believes the holiday has decreased in its rowdiness in recent years.

“There are definitely more people out than a normal Thursday, but it has not been too crazy in the last 10 years or so,” she said. “Today was very calm. Calmer than any other year I’ve encountered.”

She said that, in her opinion, the holiday has “no value.”

Some GBD participants were less eager to speak to the press, including a fraternity member who was concerned about the possibility of the exposure of underage drinking and a student who said he was “too drunk to say anything smart.”

No matter the way GBD (which has its own Wikipedia page) is celebrated or how much Miami University tries to distance itself from GBD, it remains an experience unique to Oxford.

A boot of green lager is as synonymous with this town as steamed bagels, red bricks or screaming squirrels, and it’s here to stay.