Despite more than 100 arrests and rain showers scattered throughout the day, partygoers considered Palmerfest a success.
Parties along Palmer Street started at many houses as early as 8 a.m., although the majority of attendees arrived at about noon.
By 3 p.m., a steady rain began to fall, temporarily clearing out many attendees. But even if it was wetter than previous years, revelers said it was just as wild.
Corbin Blosat, an Ohio University junior studying English education, said the most glorious part of Palmerfest is that everyone in the school rushes to one street just to party.
“We don’t need good sports teams,” Blosat said. “(Fests) are our athletics.”
Attendance at the block party was noticeably smaller than previous years, and many bands and DJs began packing up at the first sign of rain, at about 3 p.m.
Student organizations set up food stands to raise money for various activities as well as to give students a cheap food option.
“We figured everyone is having a good time and eventually will need a break for food,” said Allison Hartman, an OU junior studying journalism, who set up a food stand for the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
While some raised money for their student organizations, others spent money on their own parties. Katie McNaughton, a junior studying health services administration, said fests are very pricey on a college budget.
“Me and my roommates spent over $200 on kegs and alcohol,” McNaughton said. “And other houses spent even more.”
Mother Nature may have played the biggest role in keeping the party from turning riotous, though, as rain fell sporadically throughout most of the annual block party.
Police credit the poor weather and increased police presence with making this year’s fest, the 20th anniversary of the event, relatively “uneventful.”
"A combination of inclement weather, increased officer presence and a significant messaging campaign can be attributed to the uneventful outcome of the day,” said Ron Lucas, Athens’ assistant service-safety director, in a statement released this morning.
The last two annual Palmerfests had to be broken up after partiers stormed the street and lit couches, chairs and other porch furniture on fire.
But while the street remained clear and no fires were started this year, the number of people arrested topped 100.
Athens Police say they arrested 35 people in conjunction with Palmerfest — including 13 Ohio University students — and the Ohio Investigative Unit made an additional 74 alcohol-related arrests.
Signs warning against having open containers and blocking the street were posted at various points on the block, and surveillance cameras were visible atop many streetlights. Once it got dark, Athens Public Works officials illuminated the street with large, temporary lights at both ends of the block.
Mounted officers began sweeping the street at about 4 p.m., and various city officials, including Mayor Paul Wiehl and Police Chief Tom Pyle, patrolled the street and sidewalks.
“The streets look pretty tame for Palmerfest,” Wiehl said. “But the night is young.”
By 10 p.m., the crowd had significantly thinned as police continued to patrol the streets and rainfall increased. Police instructed some residents to move outdoor furniture indoors.
The party ended just before midnight when police, citing Athens’ noise ordinance, instructed the remaining houses to shut off their stereos.
This morning, residents of 15 Palmer St. reported four kegs stolen at 8:45 a.m.
Brian Lowe, a senior studying electrical engineering, said a car came around the side of the house and people broke into the door where the kegs were stored.
“It was extremely shady,” Lowe said. “But (my roommate) got the car’s license plate, so hopefully the person gets caught.”
Athens Police and the Ohio Investigative Unit arrested more than 40 people at Friday night’sPalmer Place Fest, a precursor to Palmerfest held at the Palmer
Place apartment complex on Kurtz Street.