A lot of things were thrown from the balconies of Creekside Apartments Saturday.
As the day waned and the hundreds of partiers who’d spent the better part of the day drinking headed into the warmth of crowded apartments, the throb of dubstep and the smell of beer as well as the shattered glass of smashed TVs strewn on the sidewalk caught the last rays of the sun.
It was the end of at least one phase of this year’s Polar Bear party, Carbondale’s annual bacchanalia that sees the consumption of thousands of beers, an upsurge of drinking-related tickets and plenty of acts of abandon.
Many people began the long day early.
“I just woke up really happy and knew there were experiences ahead that would lead to even greater happiness,” said Brent Harrison, a junior from Brighton studying psychology.
Joshua Anagnos, a senior from Manteno studying radio-television, said he was woken at 9 a.m. by the blaring of a vuvuzela.
By 11 a.m. Pinch Penny Pub and Cali’s were swamped with partiers, and the at-capacity bars were ringed with lines of people waiting for the chance to drink Corona in the chill January air.
The revelry was by no means confined to those bars, though, and the city was dotted with all-day house parties.
Trampas Porter, Creekside resident and a junior studying management, said he heard they threw stuff from the balcony last year, so he decided he’d have to raise the stakes this year.
After several TVs were tossed from the balcony and subsequently stomped on by revelers, Porter lugged a hot water heater to the top floor and, with the help of other partiers, dropped it onto the ground below.
Amid cheers from the crowd and chants of “one more time,” one reveler proceeded to beat the tank repeatedly with a pole.
Then they threw it from the balcony one more time.
“I guess I’ll have to start collecting stuff for next year,” Porter said.
A few balconies down, revelers solicited flashing from passing women, and hung an illustrated sign that promised “Beer for Boobs.”
At least one passerby obliged.
The balconies, with their view overlooking Piles Fork Creek and the throngs of partiers at Pinch and Cali’s, also echoed with the explosions of fireworks several times through the day, at least one of which briefly interrupted a game of bags.
As partiers departed from the bars, the sidewalks along Grand were choked with huge groups and an empty lot between Wall and Piles Fork Creek was dotted with people stumbling either from the muddy ground, inebriation or both.
The winter temperatures didn’t deter a couple partiers from sliding into a large puddle in the lot, while others went ahead and got into the creek itself. One found himself stranded on a semi-submerged couch while others tossed rocks into the water around him.
Despite the craziness, Polar Bear appeared to be a good thing, so long as people remained sensible, said Sarah Eaton, of London, who came down from Springfield with some friends.
Tarik Kheshgi, a senior from Evanston studying philosophy, said the event is ridiculous and boils down to simply a lot of people getting drunk.
However, he said this year seemed tamer than previous ones, possibly a result of Chancellor Rita Cheng’s efforts to put a damper on the event.
Nevertheless, he remained positive about the party.
“It only comes around once a year,” he said. “It’s like Christmas.”