By Noah Johnson
Motivated by the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, Youngstown State University student Bailey Mackey is doing her part to support relief efforts by engaging the community’s nightlife.
Mackey organized a Pajama Party Bar Crawl that took place Oct. 6 from 6:00 p.m. to midnight. The crawl spanned most of W. Federal St. establishments, including Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, Avalon Downtown and the Draught House.
Admission and raffle tickets proceeds went toward Samaritan’s Purse and their efforts to provide relief to those affected by the hurricane in Florida, Mackey said.
“My biggest focus was just the people who were devastated by all the hurricanes,” Mackey said. “It hurts to see what they’re going through.”
The idea for the bar crawl came to Mackey when she was contemplating how to make her event unique, inspired by the pajamas she was wearing at the time while drinking in Suzie’s.
As a 4-H student volunteer and vice president of the YSU Dance Ensemble, Mackey said she had experience working on childhood development programs and organizing fundraisers. She went to Beau Bowden, the manager of Suzie’s, for assistance in setting up the event.
“I helped her set it up, like the logistics of a bar crawl,” Bowden said. “Logistics are how you actually raise money, what techniques you can use, like 50/50 raffles.”
Bowden had experience managing bar crawls in the past. He said events like this have assisted the downtown bar scene to grow closer and more successful.
“I’ve only worked on one bar crawl and that was the superhero bar crawl,” Bowden said. “They’re always a lot of fun.”
Registration for the Pajama Party Bar Crawl began at 4:00 p.m. inside Suzie’s. A regular registration was $5 with a $10 option that included ten raffle tickets. Suzie’s also offered 15 percent of their food sales to the charity with other bars offering similar deals.
One participant in the bar crawl, former YSU student Joe Fiorenza, wore his bright red Deadpool onesie. Fiorenza lives in Akron, but grew up in Youngstown and attended because of his familiarity with the city.
“I had a past experience with the superhero bar crawl,” Fiorenza said. “I had a blast so that’s mainly why I wanted to come to this one,” Fiorenza said.
The bar crawl also featured singer and songwriter, Brett Newski. Although he didn’t plan on performing specifically for the bar crawl, he welcomed the opportunity to entertain the pajama-wearing participants.
“I played at the old Cedars, and then I realized they had free hot dogs here, so I immediately started playing all my shows here,” Newski said.
Newski will be touring the United States with the Violent Femmes throughout the rest of October.
Friday’s bar crawl managed to draw a decent crowd, something Mackey considers annualizing.
“It would be awesome to find a different cause each year to put the money towards,” Mackey said. “If it’s a huge success, I’ll definitely look into it.”