WEST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — On the night before Thanksgiving, many people tend to hit the road to visit family and friends, while others hit the bars.

The Wednesday before the holiday is infamously known as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving.” It’s a night where people tend to go to bars and restaurants and enjoy a few, or many, drinks.

Some bar owners in Central Illinois have said the night is usually one of their busiest nights, next to St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

John Ray, the night manager at Crusens on Farmington Road in West Peoria, said they typically turn Blackout Wednesday into a reunion party for friends coming back from college. He said one of their traditions is to have the band Patrick N Swayze play live for the crowd.

“For us, it’s basically a lot of people coming back home from college and come down here and we throw a big ol’ party before Thanksgiving,” Ray said. “It gets pretty wild.”

He said this year the bar expects 200-300 guests and they’re hoping to make up for last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic.

“I expect this Blackout Wednesday to be a lot busier than the least just because we didn’t get to have one last year,” Ray said. “Ever since COVID, a lot of people have just been hitting the bars hard lately. They’ve been missing everyone, they want to come out and have fun.”

Ray said they’re taking extra precautions, including hiring about 8 security guards, to assist those who may take their drinking too far.

“We always as bartenders have to take classes and go through stuff to make sure that we know when people are intoxicated,” Ray said. “We provide a lot of water, we keep people to limits. If they start acting more intoxicated than usual, we’ll calm them down or we’ll have security around.”

“We always hire more security on nights like these, we have to follow the guidelines.”

If you plan to go out drinking, consider having a designated driver or using a ride-sharing service such as Lyft or Uber.