Five Points St. Pat's Preps

Big festival set to take place for 31st year


By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- What started as a parking lot party in 1982 is now a festival that draws 50,000 people to the Midlands each year. Preparation for the 31st Annual St. Pat's in 5Points Festival is in full swing.

Last minute calls, emails, equipment checks, construction, logistical set backs, set-up, putting out fires and putting on everything green was the sights and sounds by the Five Points Association staff as they put finishing touches are in full swing for tomorrow's 31st annual St. Pat's in 5Points Festival.

"We've made a lot of changes," said festival chairperson, Merritt McHaffie.

McHaffie says many of the changes might not seem visible to revelers, but they have been implemented. This is the first year we'll take credit cards at the gate, first year for a 10k, and we have a VIP lounge this year.

Officials say keeping your pocket program on hand will be crucial to making your time downtown enjoyable and safe. Also, each of the 108 City of Columbia police officers on duty will have a special events action plan to keep things in order. And when in doubt, find someone who has one a long vertical sign that says: "Fest Questions? Ask Me."

With some 50,000 party-goers expected to descend on Five Points, security will be tight, including ID checks, bag checks and police presence everywhere. In fact, Columbia police will conduct public safety checkpoints at various times this weekend, focusing on Harden and Gervais streets. That's an area they say is known for DUI-related traffic crashes.

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