By Bethany Scott
Safety continues to be the priority for Ohio University staff members, volunteers and police officers who participate in Halloween weekend activities in Athens.
Sponsored by the Athens Clean and Safe Halloween Committee, the party draws thousands of visitors to the city each year. The main event runs from 2 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. Court Street will be closed beginning at 10 a.m Saturday.
Because Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, clocks will be turned back to 1 a.m. at that time, and Court Street will remain open an additional hour.
For the second straight year, the event will include a beer garden located on East Union Street in front of the College Book Store and Pilcher House. Temporary fences will enclose the 43- by 115-foot area, and proceeds will help offset the cost of the event.
A costume contest will take place there from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday and for the second straight year, three stages will feature live music.
Here's a look at weekend preparations and guidelines:
Parking and transportation
Only Ohio University staff and students with the proper permit can park on campus over the weekend, and they are reminded to do so in legal, designated spots and clearly display their permit to avoid being towed.
Campus parking lots will be closed to visitors from 3 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Sunday, and temporary or time-restricted passes will not be valid. The Baker University Center garage will close to the public at 5 p.m. on Friday and remain closed until 8 a.m. Sunday. Find more detailed information on the Parking Services Web site.
Halloween weekend parking is available at the Athens County Fairgrounds. Gates open at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30 and will remain open all weekend. The cost for the entire weekend (Friday, Oct. 30 to Monday, Nov. 2) is $20. Single day parking may be purchased for $10. A shuttle will transport visitors from the fairgrounds to the uptown area for a fee.
Paid parking for visitors is available at the Athens City Parking Garage on West Washington Street and the Athens County Fairgrounds on West Union Street. Any questions about parking should be directed to Parking Services at 740-593-1917.
Residence hall security
Students living in residence halls may have one registered guest. Guests must have paid a $25 registration fee and are the responsibility of their host. Last year, the university pre-registered 2,592 residence hall guests by its Oct. 27 deadline. Out of that number, 2,070 guests checked into the residence halls.
Only resident students and registered guests will be admitted to university residence halls over the weekend, and all must wear a residence hall wristband to be admitted. About 95 staff members will be stationed at residence hall entrances on Friday and Saturday to enforce the policy.
Safety and law enforcement
Ohio University officers will patrol campus and the surrounding area by foot, car and bike. Local and regional law enforcement officers also will patrol the area throughout the weekend. The Athens City Police Department will receive assistance from additional law enforcement officers from the surrounding area.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol will have a visible presence on the primary and secondary routes in the Athens area through its Athens, Lancaster, Gallipolis, Jackson and Marietta posts. In addition, the Ohio Investigative Unit will step up liquor law enforcement, focusing special attention on liquor permit premises and underage drinking.
University and city safety volunteers will patrol the uptown and campus areas. City volunteers will wear white jackets labeled "City of Athens Safety Teams," while university volunteers will wear green jackets labeled "Ohio Staff." Members of the Ohio University green jacket team, which will number more than 100, will be equipped with flashlights and two-way radios.
Those who need medical assistance for themselves or their friends should alert any law enforcement official or safety volunteer, or call 911. Emergency phones are located at all residence hall entrances and other locations on campus.
Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi has reminded students that the Medical Emergency Assistance program is available if they or a friend need medical attention. The program allows students to receive medical help for drug or alcohol abuse without fear of facing university disciplinary action.