Preventing Underage Drinking – Wristband Style!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Curbing underage drinking is not only a major social concern, but also a massive liability to any establishment where alcohol is served. During peak business hours, checking every single patron ID may become a time-consuming tasks for servers. Brightly-colored, non-transferable wristbands can greatly improve the process by helping bartenders visually identify guests of legal drinking age. Read below to learn how the Spearfish Community Coalition implemented an ID system to help eliminate underage drinking in their town.  

story originally featured on, published Aug. 12, 2015

Each week, at least four people are needed for four hours to check IDs and provide wristbands to adults ages 21 and older during Downtown Friday Nights on Spearfish Main Street.

“All of the ‘staff’ (in the ID tent) are volunteers from the community,” Spearfish Community Coalition Coordinator Melissa Currier said, explaining that the ID tent was an idea generated by volunteers to protect youth at community events. Checking IDs and providing wristbands to patrons 21 years of age and older reduces underage drinking and keeps events safe for youth, she added.

The Spearfish Community Coalition, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization, “Mobilizes the community to promote a positive, healthy, and drug-free youth.” Downtown Friday Nights 2015 marks the third year the coalition has operated the ID tent.

“From our viewpoint, the ID tent has been a huge success in reducing the possibility of underage drinking. Every patron is required to have their ID checked with our machine,” Currier said, explaining that the machine will alert volunteers if an ID is used twice, whether someone is trying to share an ID or from a minor finding an ID and trying to use it. “We receive a ton of positive feedback from the community about the tent. It also helps the vendors, as they do not have to continually check IDs.”

The wristbands allow vendors to easily identify those of legal drinking age, reducing the likelihood that a minor is served during the outdoor summer event.

“By them (the Spearfish Community Coalition) getting involved with (Downtown) Friday Nights, it put a focus on keeping this a family-oriented event,” Scott Temple, one of the event organizers, said.

“It sends a real clear message that this is a family event,” he added, acknowledging that the coalition’s presence has helped to give the event that reputation.

Currier described that the support from the community in helping with the ID tent “has been huge.”

“This year, we have had coalition members volunteer, as well as local service organizations and businesses, including HomeSource, Great Western Bank, Welcov (Dorsett Home), Chicken Creek Communications, Rotary Club, YouthWise, Teen Court, and many individuals,” she said. “We couldn’t run this tent without the dedication of our volunteers.”

“We love getting out in the community and creating awareness about our organization,” Currier said. “This event is such a great way to meet new people and a fun experience for all of our volunteers.”

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