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TBOX Promises a Tame and 'Safe' 2014 Pub Crawl

By Kyle Betts | December 8, 2014 6:07am | Updated on December 8, 2014 9:35am
 Twelve Bars of Christmas drew some 30,000 people to Lakeview in 2013.
Twelve Bars of Christmas drew some 30,000 people to Lakeview in 2013.
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Facebook/Festa Parties

LAKEVIEW — TBOX is coming.

Wrigleyville’s annual holiday-themed pub crawl, the Twelve Bars of Christmas, known also as TBOX, returns Dec. 13 for its 2014 edition with few changes after a "surprisingly quiet" event last year. 

In response to complaints of noise, trash, vomiting and violence following the 2012 festivities, the city requested several improvements in 2013 by the crawl's organizers, Festa Parties. Those improvements included additional security, portable toilets and an all-day private clean-up service.

“In 2013, [Festa Parties] put a lot of different enhancements in place, so that made it a much better event,” said Erin Duffy, 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney's director of community outreach, “but there’s always room for improvement.”

Last year’s measures will once again be in effect for the 2014 event, as well as additional improvements. Festa spokeswoman Lissa Druss Christman said there will be “several hundred” extra security personnel on hand as well as safe crossings at key intersections.

Parking spaces along Clark Street will also be removed and barricades will be in place for driver and pedestrian safety. Festa Parties will reimburse the city for meter revenue lost during the event.

"We want to make sure the participants are safe, the establishments are taken care of and the pedestrians are safe," Druss Christman said.

Clark Street business owners like Strange Cargo’s Sheldon Schwartz appreciate the increased security presence. Schwartz would have kept a keen eye on passersby and his merchandise in previous years, but his staff isn’t on high alert anymore.

“We expect a massive amount of drunk people,” Schwartz said. “We used to prepare a lot more, but there's been a lot more security.”

Ari Strauss, the general manager of Sluggers, noticed the extra security as well.

“Everything ran smoothly last year and we expect the same this year,” he said. “We're going to be fully staffed and treat [TBOX] like a Saturday afternoon Cubs game.”

Fifty bars will participate in TBOX 2014, and Duffy said the city expects 20,000 participants, though they haven’t received an official estimate from Festa Parties yet. Inclement weather kept thousands of registered revelers away in 2013, but Druss Christman said ticket sales are strong and they expect at least as many people as last year.

TBOX is a wristband-only pub crawl from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at participating bars in Wrigleyville, Lakeview and Boystown. Tickets can be purchased online for $45.

Festa Parties will donate $25,000 to Lakeview Pantry and $25,000 to the Chicago Police Memorial Fund.

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