About 2,000 turn out for Runnin O’ the GreenJamestown turned into a sea of green Saturday as a record number of people took part in the 31st St. Patrick’s Day event known as the Runnin O’ the Green. The annual event, held on the Saturday closest to traditional St. Patrick’s Day, is a run from bar to bar in Jamestown.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown turned into a sea of green Saturday as a record number of people took part in the 31st St. Patrick’s Day event known as the Runnin O’ the Green. The annual event, held on the Saturday closest to traditional St. Patrick’s Day, is a run from bar to bar in Jamestown.
Organizers had prepared 1,700 entry packets and tags, 200 more than last year, and ran out at about 3 p.m. while people were still arriving for the event, which officially started at 2 p.m.
“Apparently it was the largest turnout we ever had,” said Larry Knoblich, event organizer. “I was over by the starting area and when I fired the gun to start the last group I turned around and we still had a thousand people in the parking lot.”
A final tally of participants wasn’t available but, based on an estimate of the number of people registering after the 1,700 entry packets were gone and the fact some people participate without register, Knoblich said the number could go as high as 2,000.
Proceeds from the registration are donated to good causes.
“There will be some cancer people we can help out,” he said. “About a dozen with probably $500 each, and the rest will go to Camp Grassick.”
Elk’s Camp Grassick, located on the shores of Lake Isabel near Dawson, N.D., offers a summer camping experience to youth and adults who are physically or mentally challenged.
The size of the event is even more remarkable given how it started.
“It didn’t start as one of Jamestown’s biggest traditions,” Knoblich said. “When we started 31 years ago we had 23 runners, a catholic priest and two dogs.”
And some believe it has grown because of the charitable nature of the event.
“It has become a wonderful thing,” Knoblich said. “The charity is the big thing.”
Steve Aldinger, exalted ruler of the Elks and one of the volunteers at the registration area, agreed.
“We’ve had some people make donations above the registration fee,” he said.
Law enforcement officials said the event went smoothly.
“It went fine,” said Officer Kent Warren of the Jamestown Police Department. “We made some arrests but for the number of people it was rather quiet.”
Warren said most of the arrests were for unlawful possession, having an open container of alcohol outside the designated area at each bar, or for disorderly conduct (urinating in public).
The Jamestown Police Department received assistance from the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Highway Patrol in policing the event.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com