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$1 wristband required for alcohol at Rock Hill's Come-See-Me festival

Want to drink at the big Come-See-Me parties? Be prepared to buy a $1 wristband.

Festival organizers are expanding the use of wristbands this year as a way to curb underage drinking and pay for security.

Wristbands have been sold before at the annual Beach Bash, but this year, they'll also be required for alcohol consumption at the Tailgate and Moonlight events. Beer is sold at Beach Bash only.

Proceeds go toward hiring police officers, EMTs and Show Pro event personnel.

Roughly 40 police officers - a combination of off-duty Rock Hill and Winthrop University officers - will keep watch over crowds at the tailgate party, said Winthrop Police Chief Frank Zebedis.

An estimated 25,000 people attended the tailgate last year, a huge jump from 2008 when the threat of thunderstorms dampened turnout.

Police arrested seven people for disorderly conduct, public intoxication, trespassing, a firearm violation and hindering police, Zebedis said.

"We don't go out there with the intention of arresting anybody," he said. "We go out there hoping it's going to be a safe event, and it's our job to keep it safe."

A police van will be on site to take people to the Rock Hill city jail, Zebedis said. State Guard members and volunteer reserve officers, called constables, will help supervise traffic flow at the Winthrop Coliseum.

Off-duty police officers make $25 an hour, said festival staffer Ann Terry.

Moonlight Jazz & Blues is typically a more subdued event that attracts 5,000 or so people. Six officers will be assigned to the event, Zebedis said.

Keep track of your child

Wristbands won't just be used for alcohol. For families with young children, free wristbands will be available at the gates on which parents can write their names and cell phone numbers.

The tailgate party has already been tweaked to improve public safety. No longer are tailgaters allowed to arrive in the morning and spend all day drinking and partying. Instead, the gates open at 3 p.m.

It's all part of an effort to make sure Rock Hill's annual salute to spring maintains a family-friendly atmosphere.

"We don't want anything to happen that's going to tarnish Come-See-Me's reputation," Terry said.

Events with alcohol

Friday: Beach Bash

Time: 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Place: City Hall Plaza

What: Beach music from Rock Hill's own Ocean Breeze

April 23: Moonlight Jazz & Blues

Time: 6 to 10 p.m.

Place: Winthrop Lake

What: Performances by blues and Dixieland jazz bands

April 24: Tailgate & Fireworks

Time: 3 to 9 p.m.

Place: Winthrop Lake

What: Live entertainment all day, including headliner band Blue Dogs

Note: Parking is $5 per car at Winthrop Coliseum parking lots.

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