Running Updates of Palmer Fest 2013

Police "lost track" of how many parties they closed; fest ends without incidence

Students blast music from a balcony on 17 Palmer Street as mounted police officers pass by around 5:30 p.m. (Will Drabold | For The Post)

Cans are taken away from Palmer Fest around 5:00 p.m. (Will Drabold | For The Post)

A police officer speaks with students after horses were used to clear the yard of 20A Palmer Street. The party was shut down around 4:45 p.m. (Sam Howard | For The Post) 


Update 8:21 p.m.

Though a Ohio State Highway Patrol special response vehicle was mobilized at the foot of Palmer Street, it saw no use while parties were shut down around 7 p.m.

Police officers walked up and down the street, closing parties they deemed in violation of the city's nuisance party ordinance. 

At least four parties needed to be shut down by police, said Tom Pyle, Athens Police Department chief.

Pyle said that officers were eventually shutting down parties so quickly that he lost track of numbers.



Update 5:54 p.m.:

As litter cluttered the yards and partygoers stood ground on the sidewalk, law enforcement officers started to shut down parties on Palmer Street.

Two house parties had been shut down by law enforcement by 5:30 p.m., said Lt. Joe Stotts with Athens Police Department.

A party at 20A Palmer St. was shut down around 4:45 p.m. after horseback officers entered the property and confronted those in attendence, said Susi Miller, a junior foreign exchange student from Germany.

"They came up with horses into the crowd and naturally everyone left," Miller said. There were three big horses that came in."

By 5:15 p.m. officers were still forcing individuals off the street and sidewalks in an effort to keep the road clear.

"If we lose the street, that's when things tend to go south," said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student Affairs.

Lombardi cited the condensed nature of the fest as a problem, making it difficult for police officers to control parties that run together and spread into the street.


Update 4:05 p.m.:

As crowds began to spill into the streets, horsebound police officers were met with Palmer Street partygoers. 

Athens Police Department officers on horseback entered Palmer Street at about 3:40 p.m., as Athens Code Enforcement officers prepared to transfer power over to local law enforcement officials. 

A team of law enforcement officers — from APD, Ohio Unviersity Police Department, Athens County Sheriff's Office, Ohio Investigative Unit, Ohio State Highway Patrol and others — have mobilized at the Siegfried Hall parking lot.

They are currently starting their 6-to-10 man patrols of the fest.


Update 3:17 p.m.:

Partygoers, Athens Police Department officers and stray Ping-Pong balls convened on Palmer Street early Saturday afternoon.

Though a handful of police officers and Athens Code Enforcement officers were making rounds on Palmer Street around 2:30 p.m., parties remained relatively undisturbed.

Parties were growing in size around 2:30 p.m. but had yet to spill into the street. No party had been shut down by that time, as well.

A small law enforcement presence of six police officers and four Athens city code officers patrolled the fest.

The police would not comment on how they will be handling the event this year.

Since arriving at noon, Kandice Deitrick, a junior studying psychology said she hadn’t seen or heard of any arrests.

“There are cops walking up and down the street,” said Kandice Deitrick, a junior studying psychology. “You just have to be smart about it, you can’t be stupid.”

Deitrick said the Palmer Fest crowd was smaller than years past. 

“Things are crazy,” Deitrick said. “Palmer Fest is not as big as usual, though, but it is still really fun.”

Though this year’s fests have been shut down by police officers before 10 p.m., Lauren Worthington, a junior studying video production said she expects today’s festivities to last until midnight.

“If no one does anything stupid, they’ll have no reason to shut it down,” Worthington said. “There’s no reason to shut it down unless something severe happens.”

Follow The Post for updates throughout the day and night.

-Will Drabold and Alexander Muehlbach contributed to this report.

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