State Route 56 Closed Saturday Evening Near 12 Fest

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The Athens County Sheriff’s Office will be CLOSING State Route 56 from Athens County Road 19, Radford Road to State Route 682 at 8:30 PM Saturday April 12th, until further notice.

The road is being closed for the public’s safety in order to allow the large crowd from the 12fest music festival to exit the festival area safely.

No traffic will be allowed into the area except for dedicated festival busses.

After a small preview run in the spring, organizers of #Fest, 12th Edition, are getting ready to take over The Venue today from noon to midnight. This time around, organizers are emphasizing safety, with the help of local law enforcement.

The event, which had its first run in 2004 and this year will feature Wiz Khalifa as its headliner, has already reached 10,000 tickets sold, according to organizer Dominic Petrozzi.

“We’re expecting attendance to increase from the spring event,” Petrozzi said. “Everything is copacetic and we’re ready to go.”

The talent level has “drastically increased” for this event, Petrozzi said, but so have the campaigns going on during #Fest.

Money from #Fest will be donated to the Athens City Schools’ Bulldog Blitz Field Project, Petrozzi said.

Also new this year is The Green Campaign, which encourages fest attendees to use plastic cups instead of bringing beer cans into the venue.

Many drinks, however, will probably be coming from the newly-established beer garden that will be on the premises, in partnership with Heidelberg Brands of Columbus. The distributing company provides brands like Jose Cuervo, Jagermeister, LaBatt Blue and others.

“(The beer garden) is a completely secure area, only people 21 years old and up will be allowed to enter and alcohol purchased in the beer garden must be consumed in the beer garden,” Petrozzi said.

Since the event is still bring-your-own-beer, Petrozzi and local law enforcement are quick to emphasize safety when drinking and when getting to and from the event.

Interim Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith sent out a news release asking that those participating in the fest “use caution while riding in a motor vehicle to the event.”

“The sheriff’s office will be heavily enforcing traffic laws and overloaded vehicles,” Smith wrote in the release. “Any vehicle that has too many occupants and is causing disregard to others in the motor vehicle…may be subject to a citation.”

Shuttles to the event will be provided from the Athens County Fairgrounds on Union Street and Petrozzi said the buses would start shuttling attendees at 12:30 p.m.

“We recommend that students be smart and take the sanctioned taxis, rather than riding in the back of some stranger’s truck,” Petrozzi said.