Maybe if we close our eyes and pretend they're not here...

In response to the After Chill shooting, the Town Manager is proposing that ALL downtown gatherings be cancelled, moved, or severely curtailed with the exception of NCAA championships. This seems like a really bad idea to me. Not only are these festivals and parties great community-building events for the town, many of them can't be stopped even if we want to.

When over 70,000 people come downtown for an event that no-one has organized or even planned, you can't just tell them to go away. They are individual adults with their own decision-making authority. Just like you don't get to tell me what do on my Saturday nights, you don't get to tell them where to celebrate Halloween.

Franklin Street's days as party central might be numbered. Town staff members are floating proposals that could eliminate all but one of the main drag's main events.

The unofficial Halloween celebration might be killed by a 10 p.m. curfew. Wins over Duke and in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament might move to campus. Festifall could go to Chapel Hill High School.

Franklin Street would remain the venue for an NCAA championship victory but only because trying to arrest thousands of people at once would cause a riot. | Radical alterations suggested for Chapel Hill festivals

I think some policy suggestions for how to make these events safer and more orderly would be welcome. But avoidance is not a policy, and it will just leave more people doing their own thing with NO guidance from the Town.



I can so easily see this from both sides. I have gone out on Halloween and had a great deal of fun, and I worked at Apple Chill and Festifall both for at least a decade. However, I'm married to a town employee who is very conscious of what the town spends money on, and these events - halloween, basketball celebrations, street festivals, etc. all cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and have for years. For each of these events (well, maybe not Festifall), police officers from 9-10 surrounding jurisdictions (and the SHP) are all hired by the town for a day. We have had up to 200 additional police officers present for the more recent events.

The clean-up crews are placed at some pretty severe hazzards too - the shooting at After-chill happened some 60 feet from where the town flusher trucks (street cleaners) were operating. They were already being escorted by a phalanx of motorcycle cops because of the traffic and crowd problems, and anticipated violence. The next morning(s), clean-up crews wearing stick-proof gloves pick up all kinds of astounding things - hypodermic needles, razor blades, full cases of beer (and plenty of empties), taking them away from their regular job duties.

I'll stop now - I could keep going for pages and pages.

OK, let me get this straight:

It's possible to disperse crowds on October 31st, on the first Sunday in April, and even in the Fall (can't remember when that fest happens), but not win the basketball team wins. Because, y'know, that would, of course, suddenly cause a violent revolt.

Uh, yeah.

The "riot" would be from the bar owners on Franklin that would lose business because they wouldn't be over-filled with students anxiously awaiting to tumble drunkenly into the street after the final buzzer.

I think Cal is trying to make these events sound like it's a UNC only event. 50K folks show up for halloween. They are all UNC students? I think not. I was at the Dead Mule for the NCAA championship and a decade removed from holding a legit student ID. I went to E. Franklin for the after game freak show and loved it. If the party moved to the Dean Dome would non-students be welcome? Maybe so; maybe not.

Frankly, I don't see that much equilivency between Halloween and Apple chill. One is billed as a family affair suited for all ages; the other is not. One shuts down most Franklin St. stores; the other generates a fair amount of money for down town firms ( as well as liquor by the drink and sales taxes). One happens by day; one by night.

Lastly, we'll have a new manager by 1 Sept. '06. I think the decision should be made by the new blood rather then the lame duck. And, if you must ask, I do consider Cal Horten to be a party pooper after he wouldn't let the Dead play the Smith Center a second time. And no, I won't just get over it.

Halloween doesn't seem to cause the kind of "gridlock" that After Chill did. Halloween doesn't get REALLY scary until well after the danger to non-participants and the general public is significantly lessened. I think those are the chief differences between Apple Chill/After Chill and Halloween. Well, that and the fact that the restaurants make money on Halloween.


Canceling all downtown activities seems to be a bit of an over reaction. I would hate to think that we are building a wall between the school and the community. Downtown activities like Festifall and the Haloween Night "Party" have have become an integral part of Chapel Hill's identity.

That said, I understand the problem the town faces, especially with the Haloween "Party." Perhaps the town should formalize its participation on Haloween by charging a nominal fee to help offset the increased police presence that is required by the town. With some extensive publication of the costs to Chapel Hill, I believe the University students could be made to understand the need for a nominal fee. I would hope that the town council would be sure to use this to help offset the costs of added police protection and not as a revenue raising device.

The costs of Halloween cannot be calculated by considering the number of cops or cleanup hired to handle the event. Numerous high school and college kids from all over the state (if not further) come to Chapel Hill that evening; it helps to secure Chapel Hill's reputation as a cool place (whether or not that is in fact deserved). That pays off over the long term.

It isn't only the gatherings people complain about. Before the Apple Chill mess, there was plenty of whining about the homeless on Franklin St. Why not just close downtown and open a mall next to the Deandome?

Personally, I think the university should ask for voluntary annexation into Carrboro since Chapel Hill clearly has no interest in being a university town. Or wait....maybe they should build a fence around themselves; that seems to be a popular idea these days.

There are far more important things both Chapel Hill and Carrboro need to be concerned with and spend money on than "celebrations". One big thing comes to mind...POLICE...after spending the weekend with someone trying to breaking into my house on several nights I'm not only ready to hire a private police company for the house, but also I'll also be keeping the shotgun loaded and ready.

they'll be considering this this evening at town council. I checked out the agenda. It won't be discussed till about 8:45 pm and it's estimated to go on a half hour. I don't know if I want to stay out that late.

Clark, you can do it!

I wonder if Theresa has any children in that house with the loaded-and-ready shotgun.

the improper use of guns started this whole debate in the first place.

Go ahead and advocate for an increased police presence, but please don't live in fear - and just be mindful that you need to be responsible with that peacemaker.


According to the paper---common sense prevailed and the Council DIDN'T throw the baby out with the bath water. Halloween will still be "allowed"--albeit with more check points for weapons and such, and an earlier "ending" time--and Festifall will go on as it has. Spontaneous post-game celebrations will also be "allowed." I wasn't certain how they were going to disallow Halloween and spontaneous celebrations anyway....



I'm about as likely to become a breeder as gay marriage is to be legalized in my no worries about children having access to anything in my house. And as if it matters I grew up around guns my entire life being a military brat and from a police family and I knew that guns weren't toys...all it takes is teaching kids the difference.


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