Another year-end SUNY Fredonia FredFest celebration drew to a close this past weekend, and several officials told the OBSERVER Sunday evening the extreme alcohol-related incidents were kept to a minimum.
This was the first year Fredonia Police Chief Bradley Meyers said he truly noticed so many arrests of out-of-towners who had no relation to the college in any way, including being an alumni and/or visiting friends who attend Fredonia; many more are now simply "showing up because they know it's FredFest weekend."
"It was well-attended, and everyone who participated, for the most part, certainly cooperated with police instructions, encouraging them to abide by the law," he remarked. "Certainly we hadn't received many, if any, criminal mischief complaints (by the time I got out of work at 3 a.m. Sunday). As in the past, a majority of the arrests ... I'm confident that the preponderance of those were visitors, not actual students."
Meyers believes some rain over the weekend helped deter festival-goers from breaking the law. The Friday of FredFest was much busier for the police department than normal, he added.
"We were certainly kept busy Friday with several house parties, and we were called upon to open up the streets on a few occasions, particularly White Street, where people attending parties were standing in the roadway," Meyers explained.
"After the rain on Saturday, people moved down to the bar district, where there is certainly enough space to handle those crowds," he added.
People also seemed to comply with the village's new rooftop safety law, which was enacted a few weeks ago and prohibits rooftop usage potentially putting anyone's safety in jeopardy.
"I asked two (small) groups of people to get off the roof, and they complied," Meyers said. "I think there was a fair amount of prior conversation among the students with regard to the fact that the law had been put in place."
Fredonia Village Justice David Prince reinforced Meyer's point that the people who caused the most trouble were out-of-towners, which tends to be the case every year for FredFest.
"The students seemed to act very well," he added. "There was a few stupid acts, but other than that, it seemed fine. I thought (the weekend) went very well."
SUNY Fredonia Public Relations Director Michael Barone reported similar results on campus for the actual FredFest events, which he said went "extraordinarily well."
"We only had a handful of arrests, and that was the usual minor incidents, like open containers," he said. "There were a couple of marijuana citations, but that was really it."
Barone pointed out the village outside the campus limits had quite a bit more to deal with once again. He added the college is committed to figuring out ways to curtail that activity.
"Drinking in excess is the real issue here," he said. "We all know college students drink and party, but as long as they do it in moderation, I don't think anyone will have that much of an issue with it. We spent more time than usual this year reaching out to students ahead of time about not going too far."
The total number of FredFest-related arrests remains unknown at this point since police are still busy with paperwork. Officers at the station Sunday evening were unable to give an estimate of that number for the same reason, but said that information should be available within the next day or so.
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