Cold weather raises for concerns for outdoor party in Carbondale


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

CARBONDALE, Ill. - It is an annual tradition...a day-long party loaded with plenty of food, fun and drinks with friends...outside in the cold.

This weekend marks the 13th annual Polar Bear party at a pub in Southern Illinois, but some say there is a real danger as we face temperatures in the 20's this weekend.

Community leaders and Southern Illinois University officials plan to make sure party-goers stay safe while they have fun.

The beer came in by the truck load, and on Saturday the beer garden will be filled with hundred of chilly, die-hard drinkers.

Pinch Penny Pub president James Karayiannis says Polar Bear brings people in from all over the country.

"Anytime you can have an influx of people from out of town, it's a positive," said Karayiannis.

SIU Dean of Students Katie Sermersheim sent a letter out to parents notifying them of the weekend's festivities and encouraging them to talk to their kids about responsible drinking.

She says the event comes with some risks if partiers aren't smart.

"Last year we had over 100 people issued citations," said Sermersheim.

Karayiannis agrees, you have to take some Polar Bear precautions.

"If you want to be here all day and be a start to finish guy, you've gotta eat several meals, you've got to drink a lot of water, you've got to stay warm, and you have to be smart," said Karayiannis.

Sermersheim wants her students to enjoy themselves and the college experience as long as they are of age, and safe. 

"Take care of yourself, take care of your friends," said Sermersheim.

The SIU Student Health Center will have a tent set up on Saturday where drinkers can warm themselves, hydrate and have something to eat.