On, March 16, downtown Hayward’s “B Street” lit up in a shade of verdant green for its 1st Annual “Leprecon”. The event was coordinated by the same group that organizes Hayward’s annual Santacon in support of the Hayward Animal Shelter. For the first time in the city’s history, the community was invited to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the form of a bar crawl through several local bars and restaurants along B street. Up and down the street, there was an abundance of green; from the lights, to the drinks, and even the people. Attendees were encouraged to come dressed up in flashy costumes and of course, wear whatever green they had.
Greg Jones looked naturally dressed in his vividly green two-piece suit. As a realtor, wearing suits is part of his trade, but during his off time, he helped organize this event, as well as last December’s “Santacon”. Jones, along with his wife and fellow realtor Anna May, collaborated with co-coordinators Chelsea Anderson and Katie Quick to create this event to once again bring festivities to downtown Hayward.
Jones estimated a total of 300 adoptions at the shelter since holding the first Santacon. He attributed the success and coordination of this event to Chelsea Anderson, who he claimed pushed the idea and got the event going. When asked about future events, Jones hinted at “a zombie crawl” possibly occurring “the last week of October.” Citizens are advised to stay alert should the dead rise to walk among us again.
Chelsea Anderson herself was happy with the turnout, despite it being the first year for this event, and being organized in a shorter amount of time than the yearly Santacon. Anderson’s reason for organizing this event was that she wanted to start another new tradition for Hayward, as well as continue to support the animal shelter and local businesses. It was the success of the last few Santacons that encouraged her and her fellow con coordinators to go forward with this year’s “Leprecon”.
The first official stop of the crawl was at “Chalk it Up”, a bar with a variety of recreational activities such as pool, foosball, ping pong, and chess. Though it was the first stop, many attendees were already at the next stops, “Brews and Brats” and “Metro Taquero”, before 7 p.m., presumably to provide a good carbohydrate cushion for the ensuing mix of specialty “Irish” drinks offered in honor of the occasion.
San Leandro resident Vanessa Pelayo was invited to attend by a friend. She gladly accepted the chance to share her opinion of the specialty Irish drink offered by each bar. High hopes were held for her first stop, “Brews and Brats”, but after a few sips of the “Irish Margarita”, she stated flatly, “It tastes like a regular margarita” and later added that it “was not even filled all the way”. The official rating: five out of ten. It’s not the first drink she would choose, but after a few, she would not mind them.
The Stein Lounge was the peak of her night. She described the margarita as an all-around better drink because it was sweeter and cheaper. Plus, they actually filled her drink to the top and for that, it was given an eight out of ten.
The Dirty Bird was the last stop of her night, though nothing of this Irish Margarita seemed different from a regular margarita. She did notice that the bartender poured too much alcohol by accident. “They messed up and left it in there. I got lucky”. Luck of the Irish, maybe? Pelayo, however, still enjoyed Stein Lounge’s “Irish Margarita” the best, and gave Dirty Bird’s version a solid seven out of ten.
For Eric Fager of San Francisco, the night was a night to share the wealth. Fager came dressed as The Riddler from Batman, a villain known for his green suit and bowler hat. Far from villainous, he shared golden chocolate coins with fellow attendees out of his pot o’ gold. Along with a not-so-subtle “Vote for me!”, he encouraged everyone to support him in the costume contest that occurred at the end of the night. Unfortunately, the results of the costume contests were unclear, partly due to the crowd petering out around 10 p.m.
Hiccups are inevitable in an initial run. As the adage goes, it’s not that easy, being green, but the success of the first Leprecon may promise an even bigger and better Leprecon 2020.