Runners bring their walletsJamestown residents express mixed feelings about the Runnin O’ the Green. It’s fun, it’s a good cause and it’s irresponsible, they’ve said. But business leaders agree — it’s also an economic boost to the community. Officially, the Runnin O’ the Green is an annual fundraiser for the Elks’ Camp Grassick as well as cancer families throughout the community.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown residents express mixed feelings about the Runnin O’ the Green. It’s fun, it’s a good cause and it’s irresponsible, they’ve said.
But business leaders agree — it’s also an economic boost to the community.
Officially, the Runnin O’ the Green is an annual fundraiser for the Elks’ Camp Grassick as well as cancer families throughout the community. Participants “run” to nine different bars, stopping at each for a drink whether its liquor or water, said Larry Knoblich, founder and organizer. Last year, the event raised $27,000.
Unofficially, participants dress in green, drink a few beers and maybe not make the smartest of choices. In the past, residents have complained of mess, smell and setting bad examples.
“A stupid, drunken orgy. That’s how it’s looked on by a lot of people,” Knoblich said.
Those residents don’t understand the event’s economic value, said Jeff Schutt, general manager of TBR Inc. which owns the Brass Rail, Elks and Continental Bistro.
“They don’t look at the hundreds of thousands of dollars it brings into Jamestown,” he said.
Last year, more than 1,200 people signed up for the Run, Knoblich said. And more than 2,000 participated.
Those participants spent an estimated $480,000 on food, drink, lodging, gas, donations and other items. Each in-town participant spends about $50 a day, said Nina Sneider, director of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation. Each out-of-town participant spends about $200 a day, she said.
“People come here and they’re here to spend money,” said Andrea Huus, owner and manager of Shady’s Bar and Lounge.
On a typical Saturday, about 500 patrons visit the restaurant and bar located in Gladstone Inn and Suites. On the day of the Run, Huus expects more than 3,000.
She’s quadrupled Shady’s inventory, purchasing more than four times the bar’s typical order of beer, wine and spirits.
Already, the Gladstone is booked, said Phyllis Thompson, general manager. The motel has a waiting list 20 names long, she said.
Quality Inn is booked too.
The motel typically staffs two housekeepers on Saturdays. This Saturday, managers scheduled six, said Tricia Mikkelsen, front desk agent.
Mikkelsen said participants travel from as far away as Los Angeles.
“They come from all over for this Run, it’s amazing,” she said.
Like Shady’s, the Brass Rail, Elks and Continental Bistro plan for additional crowds as well.
“It’s a zoo. It was basically really overwhelming,” Schutt said.
To keep with the fire code last year, the Rail restricted bar-hoppers from entering, Schutt said.
This year, he’s more than tripled his bar staff for the evening, even hiring outside staffers for the event. On most Saturdays, one person checks IDs, manages the crowd and restocks the Rail’s bar. This Saturday, more than eight people are scheduled to do those tasks.
Paradiso scheduled more staff too, said Brian Stoneman, general manager. The restaurant’s busiest time is in the morning, he said, before the Run starts.
“We easily double the sales,” he said.
The event is a lot of work, Schutt said, but business booms. The TBR restaurants and bars do more sales on the day of the Run than they do in a typical month.
Cab drivers said their business picks up too.
Representatives from both Jamestown Taxi and Last Leg Taxi said they’re planning for a busy night.
“I’ve been running this business for 22 years and that is the biggest day of the year,” said Doug Fogerud of Jamestown Taxi.
Customers are always courteous, Fogerud said. And in 22 years, no passenger has gotten sick.
Dustin Koble, a driver for Last Leg Taxi, is working his first Runnin’ O the Green.
The company scheduled two taxis all day and a third on stand-by.
Gas stations see a difference too.
Koble, who also works for M&H Gas Station, said lines were out the door last year. Popular items included cigarettes and bottled water, he said, and the store ran out the of pain medication ibuprofen.
Some people suffer aches, pains, cuts and twisted ankles, said Sheila Krapp, emergency room manager at Jamestown Hospital. The ER sees an increase in patients, she said, but typically nothing serious.
“It just seems to be minor things that kind of show up,” she said.
The Run is demanding, Schutt said. His staff typically works 20 hours a day for two days. But its worth it, he said.
“You can’t afford not to have it,” he said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org