Drinking to Heal the Bay (and dodge traffic)

The day Angelenos were dreading had finally arrived. Carmageddon II (the sequel) fell over LA on Saturday and the 405 freeway that typically facilitates the movement of roughly 500,000 people on an average weekend, was shut down for construction. As newscasters prepped the city of angels for the peril of a 34 hour traffic jam, prospects of a fun weekend were bleak.

But nothing happened. Again. Most people obeyed the dire prophecies and stayed in. Traffic was as bad as it was when Bruce Willis sacrificed himself to nuke an asteroid so his daughter could marry Ben Affleck.

The warm, traffic normal conditions of Saturday were perfect for a night out. In lieu of doomsday, partiers flocked to Santa Monica for a common end-of-the-world tradition: drinking.

Roughly 100 people dawned bright orange shirts as they drank and walked (and eventually crawled) their way down Main Street. But just what had brought all of these people together?

Saturday’s raucous crowds were actually there in support of Heal the Bay, an environmental charity aimed to improve conditions on Santa Monica’s beaches.

About a week ago, Santa Monica new software company UMeTime launched an app to help consumers find local deals and events. Brett Berman, founder of UMeTime, says net proceeds from Saturday’s event go to Heal the Bay.

“It’s all about helping the local businesses in this area,” says Berman. “And for the consumers it’s about local deals that are relevant to you.”

The event began Saturday at 2 p.m. at Areal Restaurant and then moved up and down a three-block radius to different bars and pubs on Main Street.

As the crawl moved from Finn McCools to bar 31 Ten, a quaint bar with indoor and outdoor seating, the crowd of people had grown at least twice as large.

“My friend Andrea told me about this event,” says pub-crawler Kris Beatty . “I love it, it’s a good time. I just moved to Santa Monica about two weeks ago, but this is about supporting a charitable cause and having fun.,” said Beatty.

While plenty of people were there for drink specials the free shirts, some attended the pub-crawl strictly to support the Heal the Bay effort.

“I insisted on paying full price for my ticket because it’s donation based, and it goes to where I live,” says pub-crawler Bryan Hayes.

Hayes was not the only one excited about the event’s beneficiary.

“Heal the Bay is amazing,” says Spencer Gilmartin of UMeTime. “I went to their last beach cleanup and I had a couple of pounds of trash by the time I was done,” he says.

From 31 Ten, the crawl moved to Barcopa where the event had gone into full swing. The bar swelled with pub-crawlers all eager to continue drinking and socializing.

Berman felt his app, the atmosphere and large crowd turnout helped the UMeTime Caramageddon II Pub-Crawl become a success.  According to Berman, there will be more like this event in the future.

“We’re hoping to team up with Whole Foods and The Boys and Girls Club next; we want to keep giving back to the community through fun event,.” says Berman.

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