First it was condoned, then forbidden. Today, it returns in new form.
Though Syracuse University officials attempted to cancel it last fall, the annual Mayfest celebration is back, albeit in a different format. The day off from classes originally intended to allow students to showcase their comprehensive projects and classwork for peers and the community, but it soon became synonymous with the day-long beerfest on Euclid Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood.
After months of meetings, debate and student protest, the University reversed its decision to completely ban Mayfest. The University, in collaboration with the City of Syracuse, Student Association and University Union, reinstated Mayfestas a university-sanctioned event in Walnut Park, to take place on April 30. A separate day, SU Showcase, was reserved to celebrate student achievement while classes were in session.
Anticipating that festivities will continue on Euclid, the Office of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner sent letters and e-mails to students living in the Euclid area discouraging reckless drinking , crowding in the streets, and warning of heightened police presence on April 30.
Following the street celebration, University Union’s annual Block Party concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. the same evening, featuring Drake in the Carrier Dome.
In case the new Mayfest layout makes planning difficult, here’s a breakdown of the April 30 events:
When: Friday, April 30 1 p.m. -5:30p.m.
What’s happening: Free beer for students 21 and older with a valid driver’s license/government ID and SU/ESF ID, free food, giveaways and music by Delirium, XV and RJD2.
Walnut Park will be divided into three sections with a stage for the musical acts separating the 21+ drinking crowd from the underage students. Wristbands with tabs will be distributed to students of-age upon entering the ‘drinking zone’. Organizers will monitor alcoholic consumption by taking a tab from each student’s wristband after they have been given a drink. Coolers of food and beverages will not be permitted within the park during the event and parking around Walnut will be prohibited.
“I’m pretty sure that we’re going to go to Walnut because I guess that’s where it’s moved to,” said Chris Schultz, an undeclared freshman. “I hear a lot of rumors that people are going to Euclid anyway so I’ll probably just follow the crowd. But initially, probably, Walnut.”
Block Party featuring Drake
What students say:
“I think this is someone people want to see,” said Deniece Holley, UU co-director of concerts. “Drake and N.E.R.D. are acts people want to see and are very relevant to kids our age so I don’t think festivities of the day will deter people."
"I also think because Walnut is University sponsored, people will be much more aware of how they behave,” Holley said. “I don’t think there’s going to be people falling down drunk,” Holley adds.
“I’m pretty excited for the day as a whole because it is a nice departure from reality, whatever activities people do choose to engage in,” said Sam Morgenstern, a magazine journalism senior. “I’m definitely going to Block Party because I already have a ticket. I’ll probably join the festivities or figure out what my friends and roommates are doing, I’m pretty flexible and using it as a day off, which is nice.”