AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Six downtown Amherst bars are voluntarily delaying their openings this Saturday in an effort to head off the drunken rowdiness that marred last year's Blarney Blowout celebrations.

Three of the bars are owned by business partners who started sponsoring the pre-St. Patrick's Day event known as Blarney Blowout in the late 1990s.

Last year, during a series of parties on and near the University of Massachusetts campus, rowdiness led to confrontations with police and the arrest of more than 50 people. Less than half were UMass students.

Town Manager John Musante tells The Daily Hampshire Gazette (http://bit.ly/1Cpflzq ) the bars have agreed to open at 4 p.m. rather than 11 a.m.

The university has also banned dormitory residents from having out-of-town guests this weekend, and has planned alternate forms of entertainment.

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Information from: Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Mass.), http://www.gazettenet.com