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Athens prepares for fest season on semesters

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They can take away our spring quarter, but they cannot take away our fest season.

As students break out the lacrosse pinnies and snapbacks for another fest season, the Athens City Police Department is continuing to plan to keep the unauthorized multi-house parties under control.

The city has been planning for fest season since fall and predicted the fest season would take place sometime near the end of March and the beginning of April.

The Facebook page Fests of Athens, OH posted the fest schedule earlier this month. The 2013 version of fest season features High Fest on Saturday, March 23, Milliron Fest on Friday, April 5, Mill Fest the next day, Numbers Fest (11Fest) on Saturday, April 13, Palmer Place Fest on Friday, April 19 and Palmer Fest on Saturday, April 20. Milliron and Mill Fests occur during the Ohio University-sponsored Mom’s Weekend.

Athens City Police Chief Tom Pyle said he does not think the coinciding Mill Fest and Mom’s Weekend should not create any problems for the city.

The only comparable event to fest season would be the annual Halloween party in downtown Athens. However, Pyle said Halloween cannot be compared to the fests.

“Halloween is very organized and sanctioned, and held on public property,” Pyle said. “The fests are non-sanctioned and held on private property.”

Pyle said the he hopes the department’s enforcement of the nuisance party ordinance during this school year will carry over into the spring fest season. The police chief praised students’ cooperation with the nuisance party laws this year.

“So far, the students have been very receptive and responding in a respectable fashion to the nuisance party role,” Pyle said. “I am just saying matter-of-factly, if a party is violating any part of the ordinance, we are going to shut it down.”

The past three out of four years, fests have escalated to riot situations. Deaths have even occurred at these fests in the past.

Pyle recommended not overindulging in alcohol and not expect some consequences. He pointed to the “Party Legal, Be Safe” program presented by the city and Ohio University. The campaign aimed to help students make better decisions while at different parties and teach off-campus residents how to host a safe party. This includes keeping the yards litter-free and not letting underage individuals consume alcohol at their parties.

“Be prepared for the consequences,” Pyle said. “That may include a run in with the police. Try to use extra caution and be smart.”

The police department knows what to expect from fest season, and with a slightly more stringent enforcement of the nuisance party laws, they hope to make it through without any major incidents.


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