12th Annual Polar Bear Hits Carbondale

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By Craig Choate

CARBONDALE -- It's the day many SIU students wait for and local authorities dread. The annual Polar Bear event kicked off Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and as always,  it brought in crowds from all over the state.

"It's like a community event, everybody gets together, all the college kids and we have fun and have a good time," says Carbondale Resident Colin Hart.
 
It was events like these that once gave Southern Illinois University its party campus reputation. While that reputation as slowly died down, the name Polar Bear still spreads pretty far.
 
"My buddy from Lindenwood said, 'Let's go down to Polar Bear.' I said what's that, and he said, 'It's a big ol' good time, basically.' So I came down here with my friends to have a good time, and basically, it's been a pretty good time," says Lindenwood student Connor Allen.
 
Students lined Grand Avenue in Carbondale as they walked to and from Pinch Penny, Polar Bear's founder. But everywhere you turned, law enforcement were not far away.
 
"We have a number of officers in the area if assistance is required, we're certainly here to help out if we can," reports Deputy Chief Stan Reno.
 
Many who came Saturday were not first-timers, though, and had plenty advice for those who don't want a rough morning.
     
"Know your limit, that's all you've got to do, just know your limit," says East St. Louis resident Cedric Dean. "If you can't drink that much, don't try to impress people, don't try to drink that much, just do what you know how to do."
 
The event continues until the bars close early Sunday morning.
 
Marion Regional
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Low: 34°
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Humidity: 33 %

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