Aspen Court, CPD prepare for Polar Bear


By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

Saturday is the 16th annual Polar Bear celebration, an all-day drink-fest started by Pinch Penny Pub. Property damage, city ordinance violations and drinking citations have caused Carbondale police and Aspen Court Apartments to amp up efforts to curb the partying.

Aspen Court staff has fenced off the courtyards that were ruined last year in an attempt to reduce large crowds from damaging property, while Carbondale police will increase its presence throughout the city.

Dozens of partygoers congregated on the complex’s courtyard between buildings Q and P during recent Solar and Polar Bear celebrations, resulting in several arrests and pepper spray being dispersed on the crowd. 


Brian Marik, property manager of Aspen Court Apartments, said DJs and large sound systems are not allowed and city ordinance violations must be followed this weekend. In past years, Solar Bear attendees were seen on roofs of buildings and hanging out of apartment windows. 

“Last year we had extra security because we knew what was happening,” Marik said Monday. “This year we’re going to have heavy security. We want people to have a good time — we just don’t want destroyed property.”

In response to Aspen’s efforts, an ad on craigslist was posted offering free fencing that “needed to be gone by Saturday morning,” located in the area Marik said was prohibited.

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Marik said security is contracted by the apartment complex, but according to a flyer posted on the property, Carbondale police will be called if any criminal action occurs.

CPD Sgt. Corey Kemp said there will be five more police officers per shift this weekend, but they will not patrol one area more than another.

“Wherever we’re called for service is where we’re needed,” he said.

CPD administered 27 citations to partygoers during August’s Solar Bear celebration. More than 1,000 people were estimated to be at Aspen during the peak of the party.

Marik said Aspen has never promoted Polar Bear festivities at the complex. He attributed the increased partying in the courtyards to Pinch Penny changing entrance requirements from 19 years old to 21 years old in past years.

This weekend, Pinch Penny and Copper Dragon will admit people 19 or older and will open at 10 a.m. More than 2,600 people said they will partake in the celebration, according to a “SIU Events and Parties” Facebook event.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @EvanJones_DE