San Francisco's Bay to Breakers going dry

Everyone knows Bay to Breakers is really about the costumes. This year did not disappoint.
July 7, 2010 7:09:10 PM PDT
People who plan to booze it up at the next Bay to Breakers could be arrested because race officials are imposing an alcohol ban just in time for the race's 100th birthday next May.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that the financial giant and insurance company ING announced that it will not sponsor the race in 2011. It is not a new idea. In 2009, organizers wanted to ban kegs and glass bottles, especially on the floats. Now, they want a full ban on May 15, 2011.

Neighbors living along the nearly 8-mile route of the Bay to Breakers race are fed up with participants performing the "3 P's."

"Peeing, puking and passing out on their doorsteps," explains Sam Singer who represents the organizers of the event.

They are all caused by too much drinking according to Singer.

"'Because by 10:00, they are already wasted as heck," one man says.

Most people would agree, but some of the folks who live along the route say banning alcohol from this event goes too far.

Jason Barbose of San Francisco says, "Bay to Breakers is one of those events that is classic San Francisco. It's one of the things that make it a fun place to live."

"A majority of people that partake in the event are fairly respectful of other people's property, and I feel that last couple times I've seen San Francisco's city workforce do a good job in terms of managing the crowd flow, the behavior of some people," recalls George Nemiroff.

Singer says the public's safety is one of their main concerns.

"There was 30 ambulance calls or more this year where people had to go to the hospital with alcohol poisoning or alcohol sickness. There were some assaults on police officers as well as other people who were spectators," he says.

"I think banning the alcohol would be a nice step. I don't think they can do that effectively. They can prohibit it, but can they enforce that?" asks spectator Jose Berkus.

AEG is the entertainment company which runs the race. Extra police officers will be in next year's budget. They say anyone caught with alcohol along the route will be cited and possibly arrested.

More than 90,000 people attend the event and even more are expected for the 100th anniversary.

On Monday, a group called "Citizens for the Preservation of Bay to Breakers" will meet with local neighborhood groups at Mayor Gavin's office to discuss the ban.


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