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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The St. Patrick's Day pub crawl in uptown Charlotte broke its own attendance record again Saturday, selling more than 19,000 tickets -- green T-shirts -- to patrons of the popular event.

The T-shirts for the Rich & Bennett's St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl allow patrons free admission into more than two dozen uptown bars and restaurants, and drink specials at some of them.

But with more people taking part, police are looking out for the potential for more drunk drivers.

If they elect to do that we will be looking for them, said Maj. John Diggs of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

CMPD doesn't give out specific details about how many officers are on the street, or where they will be looking for drunk drivers -- for obvious reasons. But a traffic enforcement operation on Wilkinson Blvd. Friday night netted 11 arrests for drunk driving -- including 4 underage drivers.

Maj. Diggs said it's important for drivers to do their part.

Take a cab, call a friend, said Diggs. Don't get behind the wheel of a car after you've been bar crawling all day.

Rockhouse Events, the pub crawl organizer, was sued by the family of a cyclist who was hit and killed in Union County after last year's St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl. The driver had attended the crawl and the lawsuit alleges he was intoxicated when he hit the cyclist.

One of the event's organizers, Jeff Bennett, said he and his partners would like to avoid incidents like that at all costs.

It's important to us for everybody to be safe and have a good time, said Bennett. The event's planners work with the police and fire departments, the Department of Transportation, and Center City Partners to keep the event safe, said Bennett.

Organizers also arranged for five uptown hotels to give pub crawlers discounted rooms, and the car service Uber will give customers $20 off the price of getting home from uptown.

Even the event itineraries list names and numbers of four cab companies people can call if they have had too much to drink.

You get this many people together, you want them to have a good time, said Bennett. And we don't want anything to be ruined. We want them to get home safely.


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