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Festgoers dance at a house on High Street during High Fest on Saturday, March 19, 2016.

Despite less than ideal weather, students drank up at High Fest

Students headed to High Street on Saturday to drink and party during the second all-day fest of the year.

Neither a recent ACL surgery nor the cold weather stopped Aaron McNamara, a sophomore studying political science, from partying at High Fest.

“High Fest is a blast,” he said. “Rain, sleet or snow.”

Students headed out to High Street on Saturday to drink and party during the second all-day fest of the year. Temperatures didn’t rise past 40, but students partied on.

Nathan Schapker, a senior studying graphic design, said his fingers and toes were freezing after just half an hour of standing in the cold. He wore warm socks, but wasn’t happy with the rest of his outfit.

“These Converse are not cutting it,” he said.

He planned to “fight through” the cold and keep going until police started shutting parties down, which he expected to happen at around 4 or 5 p.m.

Mark Peters, an OU student studying business economics, had a different approach to staying warm.

“Well, my buddy had this Chewbacca onesie, and it’s really soft … so I’m warm,” Peters said. “For fests, you can’t dress normal. You gotta do something fun.”

The day wasn’t without its misadventures. Courtney Williams, a recent University of Cincinnati graduate visiting Athens, said she saw someone fall and “bust his face” on the sidewalk.

“I don’t know where he went,” Williams said. “He might be lying in a ditch somewhere.”

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A junior from Shawnee State, Drew Haislop saw several friendly wrestling matches in the mud behind one house. He lost $10 on the outcome of one match.

“It was very fun,” he said. “They all loved it. Everybody loved it.”

Rain Wiggand, a sophomore studying electrical engineering at Youngstown State, started partying at 10 a.m. to celebrate his birthday.

“I would say the weather ruined it, but my name is Rain, so I can’t talk shit about the rain,” Wiggand said.

Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle called Saturday a “typical fest.” He said officers made a few more arrests than they did during last week’s Mill Fest, adding that the rain and cold seemed to have people unsettled.

“It wasn’t violent by any stretch of the imagination, but I think people were less patient today because of the weather,” Pyle said at about 4 p.m.

By that time, Pyle said most of the parties had been shut down.

At about 4:45 p.m., though, violence did break out. Between 8 and 10 N. High St., one man punched another repeatedly around the head until a third man broke it up. Police shut down parties at both houses.

“There was a fight … and the backyard is trashed,” Pyle said. “They had people urinating in the backyards, that kind of thing, so we shut that house down."

Several students expressed frustration that police were shutting down parties, while others posed for selfies with the cops.

Police shut down some parties by 2 p.m., which was early, according to some festgoers.

“That’s way too early,” Liam Geither, a junior studying management information systems and business, said. “Make sure you include that ‘way.’ Underline it. Double underline it.”

While she was playing beer pong inside, Hannah Kaminsky, a junior from the University of Cincinnati, said police shut down a party at 43 W. State St. An underage girl had thrown up in the backyard and there was some litter, she said.

“I was very sad,” she said. “I cried a little.”

She clarified that she didn’t actually cry.

“I was like, ‘where’s the next one?’ ” she said.

Megan Henry, Taylor Maple, Jonny Palermo, Lauren Fisher and Madeleine Peck contributed to this report.


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