Published Sun, May 13, 2012 11:57 pm Dateline
As Athens and Ohio University officials had all eyes on Mill Fest this weekend following a house fire and declared riot at Palmer Fest, the city says Saturday's student block party remained uneventful throughout its entirity.
Police arrested at least nine people on Saturday, mainly for alcohol-related offenses. Of the nine arrested, four were OU students. Arrest numbers from the Ohio Investigative Unit are expected Monday.
Chief Andrew Powers of the OU Police Department said 200 volunteers helped keep watch on the crowd.
"The thought is that having peers and faculty, staff and administrators from the university kind of has a calming effect," Powers said, "They're there to be helpful and to try and protect everybody's safety and ensure that the event goes as safely as it can."
The volunteer task force was called the Green Team.
Decked in white "Ohio Staff" t-shirts and green ball caps, they worked in two shifts from 12 to 8 p.m.
Valerian Riddle, a student volunteer, said the $50 gift card to Baker University Center encouraged him to sign up.
"What we're doing is we're just making sure everybody is staying safe, that no houses are getting burned down this weekend, that no rioting is occurring and what not. [We're] just helping the police out pretty much," Riddle said.
OU President Roderick McDavis and other administrators also walked up and down Mill Street to monitor the event.
There was a small rug fire toward the end of the night, but it was put out before firefighters arrived.
Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle says he thinks it was a "run-of-the-mill" Mill Fest.
He said they had decided on a "pretty heavy law enforcement presence" for both Palmer and Mill Fest when they started planning for the block parties in February.
He also said those plans didn't change and no additional officers were called in after the mayor declared a riot on Palmer Street two weeks ago.