Thousands Turn Out For Last Spring Fest Of The Year

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The last unsanctioned student spring street party of the year has come and gone. Palmerfest, an epic multi-house party that just a few years ago ended with fires and violent behavior, was fairly mellow and was shut down by police by around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Thousands of partiers turned out for the annual spring event on Saturday despite the fact that temperatures barely got above freezing. Nearly every house on Palmer Street featured a DJ blasting hip-hop music, competing with the party next door.

The annual unsanctioned spring fests are not only flocked to by Ohio University students, but students from several other colleges.

“This is the best party of the year,” said Laura Stephens, a student at the University of Pittsburgh. She and friend Julia Morrison made the trip to Athens just for Palmerfest.

“This is nothing like what we have at Pitt,” Stephens said.

For OU senior Caryn Schultz, she was sad that this was her last Palmerfest as a Bobcat. She said she was impressed with the turnout despite the cold.

“It rained last year,” she said.

“Even the sun came out for Palmerfest,” said one OU student, referring to the turnout.

One OU senior said this was her first year attending Palmerfest, saying that fests in the weeks leading up to Palmerfest usually wore her out.

“It’s exactly what I expected,” she said of Palmerfest. “It’s good for people watching.”

Chris Kozak, a fifth year student at OU, said that he really enjoys Palmerfest but said it didn’t compare to Palmer Place Fest of 2011 before police began strictly enforcing the nuisance party law.

According to a news release from Athens Deputy Service-Safety Director Ron Lucas, parties on Palmer Street began around 11:30 on Saturday morning.

“A significant number of people were in attendance at the multiple house parties. Most of the parties were over by 4:30 p.m.,” the release stated. “The nuisance party ordinance was utilized to shut down most house parties on Palmer Street for various infractions of the law.”

The Athens Police Department arrested 17 people on alcohol related offenses and OUPD arrested 16 people on 20 alcohol related charges.

According to the news release, Athens County EMS responded to one call for assistance, which resulted in one person being transported to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. The Athens Fire Department did not respond to any calls in the area.

The Ohio Investigative Unit arrested 24 people; most on alcohol charges. There was also one person charged with escape from detention and one drug related charge.

Lucas said he thought the event went “pretty well.”

“People were pretty compliant with the shut down. We didn’t have any significant issues. Overall it was a very calm fest,” he said.