Pretty much anyone in the bar business across the United States can tell you that Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest bar night of the year. As a criminal defense attorney practicing in Centre, Mifflin, Juniata and Huntingdon Counties, I can tell you the same thing. The biggest bar night of the year also means a big night for DUI arrests. Every year, I seem to pick up at least one client who managed to ruin the holiday by getting a DUI on Thanksgiving Eve.
So why exactly is Thanksgiving the biggest bar night of the year? Actually, various factors converge to make it a perfect recipe for bar drinking. Until recent developments in the retail industry, pretty much everyone had Thanksgiving Day off. Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving; it is not a religious holiday like Christmas or Easter. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists all celebrate Thanksgiving with the same gusto. Since you don't have to get up for work or school in the morning, you can sleep in until 11:30 and wake up just in time for turkey and the Detroit Lions early game. That is if you are not the one preparing Thanksgiving dinner, in which case you probably are not exactly in the usual demographic of bar patrons anyway.
Another reason coincides with the fact that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year. When people return to their home towns, they want to meet up with all their friends. They will be seeing their family at Thanksgiving itself. Thanksgiving Eve has become a de facto annual high school reunion, especially in small town America. This tradition is so wide spread now that it has even been parodied in the "The Onion." http://www.theonion.com/articles/26yearold-to-see-every-asshole-he-ever-went-to-hig,2609/
On Thanksgiving Eve, the natural place to meet up is at bars. On New years Eve, far more people consume far more booze than they do on Thanksgiving Eve, however, most of that drinking is done at private parties. On Thanksgiving Eve, no one is going to throw a party, because people are too busy with Thanksgiving plans to want to deal with a big mess to clean up, even if they are not the ones cooking the turkey feast.
Although most people are not aware that Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest bar night of the year, the police are more than aware. Police forces around the country will dedicate more officers to DUI patrol than they would on a normal weeknight. With more officers looking for drunks, your chances of getting pulled over after drinking are greatly increased, and with so many holiday travelers on the road, the chances of a tragic DUI accident are also increased. That being said, my advice is to still go out and have a good time. You should just make sure that one of your friends can serve as a designated driver. Also, if you live in State College, you should take advantage of the fact that you actually get a cab on Thanksgiving Eve! With the students gone, Thanksgiving Eve is one of the few big bar nights of the year in Happy Valley where cabs are as easy to find as they are on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
If you are unfortunate enough to get a DUI, be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You will naturally be stressed out, and want answers to your many questions. Call 866-806-1061 to schedule a free consultation with Central Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Matt McClenahen.