Bar Crawl Ignored Self-Imposed 'Good Neighbor' Rules, Tunney's Office Says

By Serena Dai on December 12, 2012 9:19am | Updated on December 12, 2012 11:31am

 Festa Parties, 4314 N. Lincoln Ave., organizes the Twelve Bars of Christmas, or TBOX, a holiday-themed bar crawl in Wrigleyville. Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) wants to regulate crawls after a stabbing during the event.
Festa Parties, 4314 N. Lincoln Ave., organizes the Twelve Bars of Christmas, or TBOX, a holiday-themed bar crawl in Wrigleyville. Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) wants to regulate crawls after a stabbing during the event.
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

LAKEVIEW — Organizers of a raucous Wrigleyville pub crawl — that culminated in a stabbing with a shattered beer bottle — broke agreements made with the alderman's office about security, registration capping and cleanup, the politician's spokeswoman said.

Festa Parties, which runs Twelve Bars of Christmas, or TBOX, met with Ald. Tom Tunney's 44th Ward office for the first time before this year's event in an attempt to be "a good neighbor," said Erin Duffy, the ward's director of community outreach.

Bar crawls do not require special event permits so do not need an alderman's blessing, but Festa failed to meet its self-imposed restraints, Tunney's office said.

Festa Parties said it would cap registration at 18,000 and provide 100 people for security at the meeting, Duffy said.

Instead, Duffy and police said, some 30,000 people attended with only about 50 security guards.

At $40 a head — alcohol not included — the TBOX crowd generated as much as $1.2 million for Festa Parties.

Festa Parties also said it would clean up after the event, Duffy said, but the alderman's office received several litter complaints.

"[The meeting] went great," Duffy said. "They were happy to follow the alderman's wishes."

The wishes went unfulfilled: The 44th Ward received about 25 complaints regarding litter, vomit on the streets, property damage, car damage and people running in front of cars due to intoxication — far more than any other year, Duffy said. 

Though TBOX has been going on for 17 years, this year's event was the biggest and most disruptive. 

"It just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year," she said.

After a beer bottle stabbing at Red Ivy at 3525 N. Clark St., the broken storefront of Chicago Comics at 3244 N. Clark St., and the unprecedented number of neighbor complaints, Tunney said he would introduce an ordinance to regulate pub crawls.

Rules may include limiting the size and times of the events. TBOX starts at 8 a.m. and goes until closing time for a total of 19 hours, according to Festa Parties' website. Bars are reserved for TBOX ticketholders, who wear lanyards, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

After a news conference Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected restrictions on bar crawls.

Tunney plans to meet with Festa Parties founder Chris Festa to discuss TBOX problems, Duffy said.

Festa Parties did not respond to voicemails, phone calls, or emails. The storefront at 4314 North Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square was dark when DNAinfo.com Chicago visited around 5 p.m. on a weekday.

The entertainment events group also hosts a Mardi Gras bar crawl in February called Beadquest, a baseball-themed crawl between April and May called Cover Your Bases and a Hawaiian-themed crawl in August called Everyone Gets Lei's

Beadquest and Cover Your Bases are in Wrigleyville, and Everyone Gets Lei's takes place in Wicker Park.

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