MayFest 2011 : Crowds on Euclid tamer than in past because of weather
Updated: May 1, 2011,11:15 p.m.
With scattered showers and highs in the low 50s, this year’s MayFest celebration on Euclid Avenue was smaller and tamer than it was in the past.
‘This is 1 percent of what happened last year,’ said Syracuse Police Department officer Al Thompson, who was patrolling the 600 block of Euclid at 2:30 p.m.
Students stayed mostly on porches or walked in groups, and there were no problems with pedestrian and vehicle traffic. More students also reported going to Walnut Park, where the university-sanctioned MayFest was happening for the second year. By 7 p.m. people were moving inside or getting ready for the Block Party concert.
SPD officers were stationed between the 200 and 700 blocks of Euclid starting at 10 a.m., Thompson said. No roads were blocked off. Due to the weather, crowds in the afternoon were not nearly what they were by 10 a.m. in 2010, he said. Thompson said he did not think the university-sanctioned MayFest on Walnut Park affected the crowds on Euclid.
He said he had only dealt with small incidents, such as people straying from lawn parties with open containers or playing music too loudly. But had the weather improved, the situation on Euclid could have gotten worse, he said.
Students were informed Thursday that police would continue to enforce city ordinances during Friday’s MayFest celebration. The Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services distributed a letter from Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner reminding students of the ordinances.
Crowds picked up later in the afternoon, but the sky stayed cloudy and temperatures remained low. Students walked down Euclid and partied on porches wearing overcoats and long pants — a difference from last year when temperatures were in the high 70s.
Until about 3 p.m., SPD Lt. Richard Shoff said the day was quiet. But after that time he, SPD officers and officers of the Department of Public Safety dealt with six open container violations. Two students who could not provide identification to officers were handcuffed but not arrested.
Shoff said dealing with students wandering off lawns with alcoholic beverages was not as much of a problem last year.
There was one arrest on charges of harassment and nine open container violations overall, said SPD Sgt. Gary Bulinski. Bulinski said SPD was patrolling MayFest until 9:30 p.m. Friday.
When it started to rain shortly after 4 p.m., people on Euclid started to move indoors. At a house on the 500 block Euclid, a group of people moved a pong table from the front yard to the porch of the house.
Kristen O’Hara, a fifth-year industrial design student who lives in the house, said she and her roommates started celebrating MayFest at 12:30 p.m. and that people had been stopping and going.
She said she did not think the rain would affect the number of people who came to her house because there is a covered porch.
As a fifth-year student, O’Hara said she has experienced the changes MayFest has gone through since the tradition first started in 2007. She said the event was crazy until her third year.
Catherine King, O’Hara’s roommate and a fifth-year industrial design student, said people used to party all the way down the street.
‘I’m just worried the freshmen won’t know it’s a tradition,’ she said.
O’Hara said people would still celebrate MayFest despite the weather.
‘I still think people are going to have a good time,’ she said. ‘People have been waiting for this for a long time.’
Andrew Legere, a senior engineering major, said this year’s MayFest was ‘awful.’ Legere was out on the 200 block of Euclid and said the weather was putting a damper on festivities.
Before he went to Euclid, Legere said he and his friends went to Walnut Park. MayFest has changed since his freshman year, which he said was the best MayFest he attended.
Ryan Mayer, a graduate student in the information management program, said he was upset about the turnout on Euclid this year. He said the more people there are, the better the environment is.
‘I’m still having fun, but it’s a lot smaller,’ Mayer said. ‘Honestly the best one was two years ago, in my opinion.’
He said the streets would have been blocked off two years ago for safety precautions whereas cars were still using the street this year. He also said there used to be more people with big parties at every other house.
Now that MayFest is a university-sanctioned event at Walnut Park and students still party on Euclid, there has been a divide between the new event and the tradition, Mayer said.
‘It’s just caused a divide, really,’ he said. ‘It’s really caused it to be smaller in both areas when it could all be condensed into one.’
This year marks Mayer’s last MayFest, and although he was disappointed, he was also glad part of the MayFest tradition was still happening on Euclid.
‘I’ve experienced the real MayFest,’ he said, ‘and I’ll always remember that.’
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