Police Arrest 24 During Mill Fest 2017< < Back to
A series of unauthorized block parties celebrated by Ohio University students began over the weekend in Athens.
The parties known as fests are a spring tradition for students. Mill Fest began with attendees consuming alcohol as early as 10 a.m. Saturday.
Police stationed near the event were called upon to shut down several parties along the street because of noise complaints from loud music or littering.
Authorities arrested 24 individuals –primarily on alcohol-related charges– with two of those taken to jail. Police also charged 18 other individuals.
Athens Deputy Service Safety Director Ron Lucas said these arrest numbers are typical of the spring festival season.
He walked Mill Street on Saturday, offering advice to the festival’s attendees on how to enjoy the event while staying within the law.
“Know who is at your party. Keep your yards cleaned up and keep your party safe,” Lucas said. “Don’t let people drink that should not be drinking. Don’t let people get violent in your house. And we have a lot of police officers out here that can help you out if you need to.”
Officer Neal Dicken said celebrants who get in touch with the police should obey what officers say.
“We often don’t have time to argue. So we appreciate when they are respectful and don’t try to challenge us. That’s when things go bad very quickly.”
Despite the problems police have with some attendees, most people appreciate that the police are there.
“Most of them comment to us that they are glad that we are here to protect them and see that they are safe. We hear that lots of times,” Dicken said.
“We’re just hoping that people have a good time and stay safe,” Lucas said. “So that when the party comes to an end and people go home that they remember Mill Fest as a positive event.”
Athens Fire Department was not required to respond to any calls in the area this Saturday, unlike in years past.
Mill Fest is usually the largest in the series of parties that run through April.