Local bars discuss ‘The Walk,’ security, tradition


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – “The Walk,” a tradition that began in the 1970s on Indiana State University’s Homecoming Day, is quickly approaching.

This Saturday, people from all over the state will participate in the bar crawl spanning from 5th and Wabash all the way to Memorial Stadium.

A fight across from the stadium last year and a shooting later that evening, have prompted city and university officials to bring in extra security to keep participants safe.

Saratoga Restaurant owner George Azar explained his restaurant was the original first stop for patrons on “The Walk,” and in the last 40 some years he’s never had an issue.

“To be honest with you some, of the people that cause the problems weren’t even really part of ‘The Walk,'” he said. “So again I think some of the kids got a bad rap on that.”

Two Terre Haute Police Officers will man the doors when the Saratoga opens Saturday morning at 7 a.m. Azar believes the day will go off without a hitch.

“Even the security people can’t believe how good it goes without any problems,” he explained. “I think they had fun, but they don’t cause any trouble.”

Sonka Irish Pub and Cafe will open at 9 a.m. for patrons. Owner Sandy Boyles-Gillen explained her usual five THPD officers will monitor the beer garden, bar and surrounding area.

“We’ve been very very lucky. We’ve never had any issues and that also has to do with the Terre Haute Police Department helping with the security,” she said.

ISU student Jordan Anderson will be participating in “The Walk” for the first time this year.

He said last year’s fight and the increased security doesn’t bother him.

“People get drunk and walk around town all the time,” he explained. “So I don’t know, I think it’ll be okay.”

Fifteen THPD officers will be dedicated to monitoring “The Walk” in addition to the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police.

The bar crawl ends at Memorial Stadium where students will be allowed free entry with a student ID. Anyone else who wants to enter must buy a ticket.

“The Walk” is a tradition in Terre Haute, and local bar owners believe it’s important to keep the event alive.

“Just being a part of the community and then having everyone walk through,” said Boyles-Gillen. “Perhaps some meet us for the very first time and it’s always a pleasure.”

“I think it’s a tradition that we, you know, hopefully don’t ever get rid of,” explained Azar. “But you know as long as we can control it and keep people safe, that’s the main thing.”

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