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Dogtown St. Pat's Parade To Ban Coolers For First Time In Event's History

(via Flickr/Herkie)

Updated at 12 p.m. with comments from Dogtown Business Merchants Association.

Thinking of bringing your cooler to the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dogtown this year? Don't.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Clayton-Tamm Neighborhood Association, and the Dogtown Business Merchants Association announced today an outright ban on coolers being brought into the annual event. It's the first time such a ban has been implemented in the parade's 29-year history.

Jim Mohan, who handles parade publicity for the Hibernians, says public safety officials warned the organization that binge drinking was becoming a bigger concern over the last several years. In 2008, the Hibernians banned outside alcohol from the event, but searching coolers was time-consuming. Mohan says they were also becoming a tripping hazard.

The business association has hired off-duty police officers to enforce the cooler ban, and to search backpacks and other bags for outside alcohol. Bill Kennebeck, a Dogtown businessman, says the budget is about $5,000.

Residents who live in the neighborhoods will still be allowed to have coolers on their porches or in their yards. "This is no different than Fair St. Louis, or other celebrations," Kennebeck said.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.