Bama Fans, Tuscaloosa Police Gearing Up for Heavy Crowds on The Strip for National Championship
Hours before the National Championship game even started Monday, hundreds of Alabama fans crowded The Strip in Tuscaloosa eager to kick off game day early. At the same time, Tuscaloosa Police are gearing up to ensure a safe, controlled celebration if the Tide wins.
Students at the University of Alabama were lined up outside several bars down The Strip, some of the longest lines being at Innisfree Irish Pub, Gallettes, Rounders and Twelve25.
While some bars were already letting patrons in as early as 11:30, other folks in line were still waiting at noon for doors to open. One student told The Thread he intended to be at Rounders for the whole day up until the end of the game.
"I'd rather get here as early as possible to make sure I get a seat," he said. "I'm super excited."
Tuscaloosans are not new to big celebrations. Just last year after the Crimson Tide took home its 18th National Championship win, hundreds of Bama fans flooded The Strip near UA's campus from Buffalo Phil's all the way to GloryBound Gyro Company to celebrate.
"Last year, the crowd grew exponentially once the game ended. Fans who had been watching the game in nearby residences came out to celebrate on the streets, causing the crowd to grow very big, very quickly," said Stephanie Taylor, a spokesperson for the Tuscaloosa Police Department. "It became a public safety concern, so the chief declared the area overcrowded and officers ordered everyone to disperse."
Taylor said additional officers will be patrolling the bar areas, especially on The Strip. Officers intend to monitor the crowd and act as needed.
"We want everyone to celebrate and have fun, but we also need to make sure everyone stays safe," Taylor said. "Officers will discourage people from loitering and blocking the entrances of businesses, and will be on the lookout for underage drinking and open container violations."