Partygoers were given the opportunity to enter raffles for the chance to win Mercer apparel and participate in a shamrock scavenger hunt. Francar’s Buffalo Wings, Jittery Joes, Ingleside Pizza and Barnes & Noble offered student discounts as well as interactive Ireland-themed games.
SGA Senator Jordan Locke, who co-chairs the Heritage Life Committee, cited the need to encourage interaction between Mercer students and the local Macon community.
Last year’s event was confined to a party at the Jittery Joe’s coffee shop. As luck would have it, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day fell on College Hill Alliance’s regularly scheduled “Third Thursday: Party in Mercer Village”. The two organizations collaborated to expand the reach of the St. Patrick’s celebration to the entire Village.
Local businessowners Christyanne Gaspar and J.J. Hobbs chose St. Patrick’s Day to hold the grand opening of Rodeo Beach, a new outdoor enthusiast retail store in Mercer Village. Rodeo Beach formally was an Internet store based out of Tampa, Fla. Gaspar and Hobbs felt that for their first physical store, they should return to their roots in Macon.
“We came back for the positive atmosphere especially, because of College Hill Alliance,” Gaspar said.
Inside, Mechel Mckinley and Joseph Stanford of the Macon Money social game distributed halves of bonds to the crowd. When paired, the bonds could be exchanged for anywhere from $10 to $100 Macon Money bills, a local currency accepted by more than 40 business in Midtown and Downtown Macon.
“Macon money was created by the ‘Area/Code’ organization in New York as a social game to promote community involvement and economic development,” said local project manager Mckinley. Macon Money is funded through the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation’s Games for Engagement Initiative.
The community-building atmosphere was echoed across the Mercer Village. Between the Francar’s and Rodeo Beach storefront, a representative of Macon Roots handed out flyers advertising the relatively new not-for-profit organization. Macon Roots consults Middle Georgia farmers in an effort to “promote a diverse, sustainable, and local food system.”
Ultimately Macon Roots hopes thier local farm network will displace other food suppliers from outside of the region, boosting the local economy and reducing dependency on foreign farms.
In addition to the business sales and discounts, friends Caleb Thornley and Johnathan Wisdom were invited to perform on guitar and keyboard for the crowd.
Just before sunset the Mercer University Pipes and Drums ensemble marched towards the Village from Greek Row, playing traditional folk tunes of Irleand. Towards the evening, self-proclaimed resident leprechan Jack Branan handed out candy to passersby.