(KMOV) – St. Louis area police departments are preparing Wednesday for what many local establishments are calling one of the biggest drinking nights of the year.
News 4’s Ray Preston spoke with police who say they are fully staffed for what is not just drinking, but underage drinking that has spiked in recent years.
According to authorities, police are particularly targeting drunk drivers on the night before Thanksgiving.
St. Charles Police Officer Erik Lawrenz stressed not only are many patrons taking part underage, they tend to get behind the wheel.
"They're underage number one...may not be making the greatest decisions when they're drinking and tend to get a lot of that impaired driving with underage drinking. This tends to be one of the biggest nights of the year for that."
At R.T. Weiler’s on Main Street in St. Charles, Marc Rousseau has doubled his staff as if it were a busy weekend night.
"The night before Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest bar nights of the year."
In the past seven or eight years alone, Thanksgiving eve has really taken off when it comes to bar business, Rousseau said.
"I think people look forward to this like they do the Superbowl, Saint Paddy's Day, New Year's Eve...it’s one more night that everybody knows the bars are ready for them and have extra entertainment, that sort of thing..."
Police say this particular spike in attendance is due to the overwhelming number of college students returning home for Thanksgiving break.
However, police say many people do not approach the night before Thanksgiving with the same precaution as they would with more traditional nights of drinking.
Officer Lawrenz’s advice is anyone partaking in the festivities Wednesday should plan for a designated driver or taxi.