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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Senior traditions: drinking and jumping in fountian

    Bartender Tanya Harvey serves a drink to a regular at The Buffet, 538 E. Ninth St. Locals describe the bar as having the best drinks in town because of the friendliness of the clientele, the atmosphere and the safety of the environment.
    Bartender Tanya Harvey serves a drink to a regular at The Buffet, 538 E. Ninth St. Locals describe the bar as having the best drinks in town because of the friendliness of the clientele, the atmosphere and the safety of the environment.

    This year, graduating UA students will carry on a tradition that’s more than 15 years old – heading to the bars at 6 a.m. on commencement day.

    Nicole Meade, a Near Eastern studies senior, said she will line up at Dirtbag’s, 1800 E. Speedway Blvd., in the early morning hours before Saturday’s graduation ceremony so she can get a drink when the bar first opens at 6 a.m.

    Meade said she’s heard of the tradition before and said she thinks it’s very popular with graduating seniors.

    “”It’s one last hoorah,”” she said. “”One last chance to be crazy and reckless before you enter the real world and have to find a job.””

    Meade said it’s not usually socially acceptable to begin drinking in the early morning hours, but graduation day is the perfect day to go against the rules.

    While she will try not to get drunk before the ceremonies, her friends might prove to be a bad influence, she said.

    Gary Welch, owner of Dirtbag’s since 1988, said seniors begin lining up around 5:30 a.m. with their family and friends. The tradition has been going on as long as he can remember, he said, and the bar is usually at capacity by 6:10 a.m.

    “”It’s a great tradition if you’re up to it,”” he said. “”It’s part of growing up.””

    Welch said the most popular drinks served include Bloody Marys and mimosas, although some brave students opt for shots.

    It’s one last hoorah. One last chance to be crazy and
    reckless before you enter the real world and have to find a job.
    – Nicole Meade,
    Near Eastern studies senior

    “”Last year we went through 20 gallons of Bloody Mary mix and two cases of champagne,”” he said. “”Some students managed to get pretty tipsy before their ceremony.””

    Welch said the bar stays busy throughout graduation day, with the crowd tapering off during the two ceremonies, which are at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

    Seniors also line up outside The Buffet, 538 E. Ninth St., for the 6 a.m. opening, some dressed up in their graduation attire.

    Near Eastern studies senior Mandi Soulliard said she will not be going to the bars on graduation day, but she will be participating in another common graduation tradition. She said her parents will be throwing her a party after the ceremony.

    “”It’s great that people want to get up and go to the bars that early,”” she said. “”But I won’t be drinking that day.””

    Another reported graduation tradition involves seniors jumping into Old Main Fountain at 1 a.m. the morning of Dead Day.

    Kelly Abdelaziz, a retailing and consumer sciences senior, said she’s heard of the tradition, but she decided not to participate in it.

    But Abdelaziz said she will be heading to Dirtbag’s at 6 a.m. and will take her parents to join in on the fun.

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