A Quieter Mill Fest for 2019

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Ohio University students and visitors alike flocked to Mill Street Saturday for the 2019 edition of “Mill Fest,” the annual collection of house parties along Mill Street hosted by the residents there.

Ohio University Junior Michael Chaney hosted a house party.

“I had high expectations this week just living here now, but it was actually a lot more low-key than I expected,” Chaney said. “We had a lot of stuff we put into it and it was worth it.”

Hundreds attended each party, an expensive undertaking for the hosts who often spend hundreds of dollars on supplies.

Mounted police officers watch over the 2019 edition of Mill Fest.

“Collectively I think we spent about a thousand bucks,” Chaney said. “If I had to guess probably like 200-300 [people].

Some parties began as early as 8 a.m., with the whole street going before noon. As expected, police turned out in force. Both Athens and Ohio University police lined the street – a number of them on horseback.

While the parties were mostly quiet, the horses were spurred into action chasing a man on foot across the street and through a number of backyards, finally dashing into a house.

Whether the sprinter knew the homeowners was not clear, but that didn’t stop the police from shutting down that party, and remove everyone.

One of the homeowners paced in his front yard yelling expletives at the police. Still, the suspect was not found.

The only illegal activity Chaney had to deal with became an instant cold case.

“We had a couple corn dogs stolen from our freezer,” he said. “I literally wanted to yell at them but I just kind of smiled at them like don’t do it again.”

While the parties are typically finished or disbanded by police early in the afternoon, this year some parties continued until nearly 5 p.m.

Just 19 were arrested this year, down from 28 last year.