Springfest goes on despite cover charge
Five dollars went a long way in determining whether students attended Saturday's Springfest from inside or outside University Park in Grand Forks. The cover charge was to help pay for staging the event. Hundreds of students gathered at house part...
Five dollars went a long way in determining whether students attended Saturday's Springfest from inside or outside University Park in Grand Forks.
The cover charge was to help pay for staging the event. Hundreds of students gathered at house parties in neighborhoods across from the park.
"Every year it gets worse and worse," UND sophomore Paula Hoffarth said. "You have to pay $5; you can't bring in your own beer."
"It used to be a lot more free-spirited and about having fun," former UND student Elizabeth Vistad said. "Now, it's about obeying the law."
Grand Forks Police Lt. Grant Schiller said 71 citations were issued, the majority for bringing alcohol into the park without a permit or public consumption of alcohol. In 2008, 46 citations were issued. There were three citations for disorderly conduct and one for loud party.
Inside the fence, organizers Adam Stusynski, Matt Winjum and Arron Hendericks, partners at Rhombus Guys, were in the thick of the crowd selling beer tickets for $3.
"Everybody's going to complain when there's change," Winjum said. "To put on an event like this costs big bucks."
The cover charge and the weather may have kept attendance down from years past. The rain held off, the temperature stayed near 40 degrees and a light breeze kept flying discs aloft. The estimated 1,500 inside the fence danced and sang to music from Reconcile, North River Ramblers, Still Fighting It and Colie Paulson. There was plenty of beer and plenty of food from Rhombus Guys and the Red Pepper.
Schiller coordinated 29 security officers from Grand Forks police, Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office and UND police. They could be seen on foot, on bikes and on all-terrain vehicles. Winjum and Hendericks took turns checking in with their own security staff. Stusynski said he had all 15 employees of his staff working plus 25 friends.
"Rhombus Guys stepped up to the plate," Schiller said.
"What matters is all the positive talk from the city, police, park district and churches who tell us they're seeing it done in a proper way," Winjum said.
Kirstin and Brian Smith, who live across from the park, remember when Springfest crowds set picnic tables on fire. Kirstin recalled when her grandmother "had a guy in her yard who passed out next to her dog."
"Since everybody started working together, it's a lot better," she said.
Cpl. Lavonne Nelson was part of the bike patrol keeping an eye on all the neighborhood parties.
"The houses we had trouble with last year are empty, and the house parties going on are bigger," Nelson said. "The residents we have talked to say they've been tolerating the noise since 8 a.m."
Schiller said the exodus from the park about 5 p.m. went very orderly.
"Overall, the event went very, very well, and everyone behaved themselves," Schiller said.
Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to email@example.com .