Castleton State College student Jillian Gee stumbled a bit, trying to steady the 15-pound ball she held with three fingers. She shut one eye with hopes that everything wouldn’t be quite so blurry. She took a big stride forward, slung her arm back and fired the ball – right into the gutter.Friends spit mouthfuls of 50-cent draft beer into the air unable to hold back their laughter.
Welcome to the latest CSC fad: bowling — and drinking — in Fair Haven.
College Night had its inaugural evening Nov. 6 with busloads of Castleton students piling through the doors at Fairwood Lanes.
The bowling facility has 12 lanes, a huge dance floor with a DJ, separate room for the pool players, a fully loaded bar with 50-cent drafts and piles of 25-cent wings. When the nice weather hits Vermont again, mini golf and horseshoes will be available as well.
Castleton students often head to a local bar nicknamed, “The Dog,” on Thursday nights. Fairwood Lanes is not trying to compete with “The Dog,” the owner just wants to give college students more options a night later.
A Castleton alumnus is credited with helping get this new trend going. James LaMountain took over where the Sigma fraternity boys left off.
“It all started when the Sigma boys had their clambake here, but they got busy with their Halloween party and everything so I decided to approach Randy Martelle to get this started,” said LaMountain.
Facebook was a big key in advertising for this event. LaMountain created a page for Fairwood Lanes, started friending people, and then created an event. The Lake House Pub and Grille on Lake Bomoseen has also used the Internet to tout special deals and events for college students to see.
But the biggest difference between going to Fairwood Lanes and going anywhere else is that the owner, Martelle, plays bus driver for the event and drives his 25 passenger van around picking up students and bringing everyone home when it’s over – for free.
“We can’t be responsible for college student’s actions, but we can be responsible for their driving,” said Martelle.
All students have to do is call the number with a group of five or more, and the shuttle will come get them.
Martelle and LaMountain discussed having a schedule of pickup times at various places around Castleton. Students will be informed via Facebook when this is set in stone.
“This is a great time! I don’t have to worry about driving at all, which is awesome because I came here and I am drunk,” said Castleton student William Sisco.
Student after student said the shuttle bus was the deciding factor.
“Awesome, awesome. The bus totally pushed it over the edge for me,” said Castleton student Emma Deis.
Another key selling point is that underage students can come to this event too.
“It is funny as an underage person, you see everyone else really drunk and you say that you won’t drink like that when you turn their age. I love people watching, and watching drunken people bowl, it’s funny as hell,” said sophomore Mariah Philips.
“It’s different at The Dog because all there really is to do is dance or play pool, here there is more. There’s a ride to and from, the drafts actually run out when the drafts run out. There is food when you are hungry, it’s the same as The Dog but more,” said LaMountain.
Castleton students are encouraged to hop on Facebook and friend Fairwood Lanes.
“With word of mouth and Facebook, this place will be popping,” said senior Renae Larose.