College Fest ends with few issues

Police make 51 arrests at all-day block party.

By 10 p.m. on Saturday night, the rain was gone, but thousands of revelers remained on College Avenue for College Fest.

That changed 15 minutes later. With shouts of “Party’s over,” “Get inside” and “Move toward campus,” officers from the Kent Police Department and several other local departments began clearing out lawns and porches along the street and shepherding the crowd away from College Avenue.

College Fest 2010-2

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Some in the crowd, unhappy with the dispersion, hurled beer bottles in the direction of the officers. Many joined in chants of “Bullshit” and “F—k the police.”

But one thing didn’t happen: a bonfire. Unlike last year, when College Fest ended in riots and fire, College Fest 2010 ended with the crowd trudging toward Lincoln and Willow streets.

By 11 p.m., College Avenue was quiet, and it stayed quiet yesterday. All that remained of Saturday’s festivities were trash bags full of cups, cans and bottles on the side of the road.

According to the Kent Police Department, 51 people were arrested for Saturday’s festivities. Throughout the day, about 25 houses had parties.

‘People will come’

College Avenue was quiet at 10:20 a.m. except for the sound of car tires on wet pavement. The sky was grey and the air was damp and chilly.

“We have champagne,” yelled one man as he and his friends headed down College Avenue, removing bottles from a plastic CVS Pharmacy bag.

Bryan Bowen, senior justice studies major, said he thought more people would show up once the sun came out.

“As soon as the weather clears, people will come and the police will follow,” Bowen said.

Bowen and some of his friends said they saw the same cop ride by almost every half hour.

“Speak of the devil,” Bowen said as the cop cruised by at 10:48 a.m.

By 1:40 p.m., two police cars were stationed on College Avenue. A couple officers were walking around while two stood on the curb of Willow Street and College Avenue.

One man walked down the street with a double hose beer bong. Moments later, two men and a woman headed down the street. They held their red plastic cups with their left hands, keeping them close to their left leg, as they passed the police.

Two officers went up to talk to junior sociology major Laura Adams, junior communication major Becky Akosi and junior fashion design major Ashley Gerber.

“They were really nice, but they were really nice last year, too,” Akosi said. “Then at 8 p.m., they got mean.”

Micah Bryan, junior philosophy and law major, hobbled down College Avenue on crutches. He sprained his left ankle playing basketball the week before but was determined to go out and have a good time.

“I would’ve gotten out somehow, eventually,” he said.

Rain started pouring at 2:20 p.m., ending one house’s small barbecue. Some people huddled under the tents. Others were unfazed.

‘They’re doing a better job’

By 3 p.m., College Fest was just warming up. But not in terms of temperature.

Bottles, crushed cans and plastic cups lay in yards and scattered along sidewalks. As a light rain turned into a steady shower, partygoers continued to come and go.

Melissa Marthey, junior human development major, had her sweatshirt hood up because she said it had rained twice since 12:30 p.m., when she arrived at the block party.

“This is the shittiest weather I’ve ever seen,” she said.

Around 6:30 p.m., most of the crowd had drifted to the middle of College Avenue. On each side of the street, small groups of police stood in riot gear. Some partiers got in a fight and police broke it up. Duct taped on a telephone pole was a folder of “What to do if you’re stopped by the police” pamphlets.

James Goggin, a resident of Cleveland, who held a Coors Light can and beer bottle in his hand, said police seemed to be pretty lenient for most of the afternoon.

Instead of making arrests for open containers, most officers dumped the alcohol of those who wandered onto the sidewalk, he said.

Goggin said he saw one partygoer who walked into the street and had his beer dumped, only to do it two more times before police arrested him.

“I think they’re doing a better job this year in preparing for it,” he said.

‘Party’s over’

Around 7:30 p.m., the lawns remained full of people and beer cans. The sound of glass beer bottles shattering could be heard all over College Avenue as people walked on the crowded and littered sidewalks.

Police presence maintained steady through evening, picking up only while the sun started to set. Arrest numbers didn’t explode, but a steady number of drunken patrons found their way into the company of police. One man, according to police, exposed himself to a group of girls.

Kent City Police Chief James Peach said around 8:45 p.m. the police presence was a preventative act. He said the police weren’t there to ruin the party because “we want everyone to have a good time.”

About the same time, police equipped themselves with pepper ball guns. When asked if the guns were precautionary or expected to be used, Peach replied by saying he carries but never expects to use it.

As 10 p.m. approached, the crowd grew rowdier. They began singing “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole” and chanting various other sayings. The police moved from the sidewalk to the street.

A standoff of sorts took place as students stood on the edges of lawns and police stared back at them. Some in the crowd began to throw bottles, which led to the police clearing parties.

At 10:50 p.m., with most of the crowd gone, a police officer got on a megaphone to warn a few stragglers: “Party’s over. Leave the area immediately.”

Ten minutes later, the street was silent and the rain had begun again.

Contact public affairs reporters Nicole Stempak at [email protected], Kelly Byer at [email protected] and Anthony Holloway at [email protected]. Editor Doug Gulasy also contributed to this story.