Iceland Mag

5 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Culture

Culture night a great success, despite a downpour and parking tickets

By Staff

  • 120,000 attendants Despite the crowd only a handful of problems came up, including a few minor brawls and cases of underage drinking and public intoxication. Photo/Daníel Rúnarsson.

According to official estimates more than 120,000 people attended various events in downtown Reykjavík during the Culture Night on Saturday. A downpour in the afternoon did little to discourage people from attending. The festivities ended formally at quarter to midnight with a fireworks display by the old harbour.

Marathon runners rushed to the hospital
The day began with the annual Reykjavík Marathon. 15,000 people participated in the Marathon. While most had a great time, a few participants ended up at the hospital. More than a dozen people were rushed to the emergency room of the University Hospital due to exhaustion. Hjalti Már Björnsson, a physician at the ER told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV that most of those who had to be treated had been participating either in the half-marathon or the 10 kilometre run. Hjalti criticized people for overdoing it, reminding runners that if they feel they were pushing their limits they should simply slow down or simply stop running. “Perhaps people are trying to run distances they are simply not trained to run.”

 

Parking tickets cause frustration
Despite repeated warnings by the Police and City authorities that illegally parked cars would be ticketed, RÚV reported that a large number of people did park their cars on pavements and grassy areas around downtown. Last year parking wardens issued 1,060 parking tickets to offending motorists. Each offender was fined 10,000 ISK (78 USD/68 EUR). 

After discovering they had been fined many took to social media to voice their grievances. However, everyone had the option of leaving the car at home, as the Metropolitan Bus Service, Strætó, offered free bus service to and from downtown. At the end of the formal program 60 buses ferried people non-stop for two hours. The CEO of Strætó told RÚV that it was impossible to estimate the number of passengers, putting it somewhere between ten and fifty thousand.

Public drunkenness and underage drinking
The Metropolitan Police reports that no serious incidences came up despite the crowds. According to RÚV police did confiscate some amount of alcoholic beverages from youth who were below the legal age limit for alcohol consumption.

After the festivities had drawn to a close the Police was busy picking up people who had. RÚV reports that a few people had  “fallen asleep” after excessive alcohol consumption on traffic medians and pavements Most were simply given a lift home by the Police. Only a handful of physical injuries were reported. The Police was dispatched to break up a large brawl involving a group of youth on Lækjartorg at two in the morning.

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