Low arrest numbers and OU students in fest gear kicked off the first fest of the season Saturday afternoon.

Ohio University students turned their red solo cups down to “turn up” for the first Saturday fest of the season, Mill Fest.

Horse cops trotted down the street, raw sewage spewed into the road and houses were shut down throughout the afternoon, but nothing stopped the festers from enjoying the sunny afternoon.

Not even a broken foot would stop Liz Blesi, a junior studying nutrition, from participating in Mill Fest. Hobbling around the fest, Blesi said she broke her foot at a nightclub during spring break.

“My bone is literally smashed,” Blesi said.

Despite her injury, Blesi said she couldn’t miss Mill Fest because she has only two more Mill Fests left.

“I have great friends to help me,” Blesi said

Among the jerseys, snapbacks and hawaiian shirts, some festers wore costumes to make their time at Mill Fest extra special.

Lindsey Smecker, a senior studying communication studies, wore a Kanye West mask as she perused the fest.

“I saw them on Amazon, and I was like (this) is hilarious, I have to get one,” Smecker said. “I got a Drake one too, so maybe next fest I’ll be Drake.”

Others took a more political approach to their fest attire.

“We’re drinking and riding in our wagon named Ted Cruz,” Megan Cika, a freshman studying chemical engineering, said.

Cika sat in the green wagon with a few friends and explained how the name stemmed from how the wagon “cruises” down Mill Street.

One OU alumnus was spotted in a cow costume milking the last bit of fun he could at the fest.

“You wear the cow costume because it adds to festivities,” Rick Sanchez, an OU alumnus, said.

Sanchez’s mom made him the cow costume and his friends bear costumes their sophomore year, he added he wears it for most fests and Halloweens.

“I’m having a great day,” Sanchez said.

Some animal costumes featured extinct species that turned down a long time ago.

Andrew Mulder, a sophomore studying sport management, wore a plastic dinosaur hat.

“My roommate went to the dollar store and bought four of them, so I put one on,” Mulder said.

Mulder called Mill Fest “nuts” and planned to go eat some pizza, drink some water and come back out.

“Hydration is important,” Mulder said.  

One OU alumnus, John Kuscih, decided to spend his birthday at Mill Fest at the house he used to live in last academic year. 

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Kuscih said in 2011, he and his friends started the jersey trend that’s become the popular fest attire.

“It was a newbie thing … now it’s blown into the standard routine,” Kuscih said. “It’s cool to see the traditions.”

Scanning the crowd, fest-goers guzzling down multiple story-high beer bongs could be seen alongside a few four-legged fest attendees.

Arla, a boxer-hound mix, trotted beside his owner.

Zak Roe, a junior studying integrated media — and Athen’s own Anna from Disney's Frozen — said he didn’t see anything too crazy but had high ambitions for the day.

“I’m going to try and find my future wife today,” Roe said, adding that he liked to see the cops riding their horses.

One fest-goer, Katy Walpole, a junior studying nursing and Spanish, took a selfie with one of the mounted units.

“It’s an Athens tradition, they were friendly because we asked,” Walpole said.

The Athens City Police horse unit took the streets at about noon and soon after shut a house down.

48 Mill St. was shut down at about 1 p.m., followed by 89 Mill St. being shut down at about 3 p.m.

Officers told Post reporters that the house had multiple violations, such as littering.

Ron Lucas, Athens deputy safety-service director, said about 50 officers were on foot and more than 15 were on mounted units.

“Parties are generally under control, hopefully they stay that way,” Lucas said.

Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said it was a “typical” fest day, and added that he hadn’t seen anything too crazy or out of the ordinary.

APD arrested one person on an alcohol related charge, while the Ohio University Police Department arrested seven individuals on alcohol related offenses. The Ohio Investigative Unit arrested 16 people on alcohol related offenses as well.

Last year, 52 individuals were arrested during Mill Fest weekend. This year, with only 24 arrests, there was about a 50 percent arrest decrease.

As the fest came to a close, one fester called out to an officer with an “I love you.”

“You too,” the cop said.

-Megan Henry, Madeleine Peck, Nora Jaara, Bailey Gallion, Lauren Fisher and Kaitlin Coward contributed to this report.

@Fair3Julia

Jf311013@ohio.edu 

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