‘Freaknik’ event in Monroe Saturday shut down after traffic overwhelms neighborhoods

Mayor says organizers failed to get a permit for the event

MONROE, GA (May 17) – Local law enforcement shut down Saturday’s “Freaknik” celebration at Hammond Park in Monroe after several residents called in about excessive traffic blocking driveways. Mayor John Howard said a permit is required for an event like that but that organizers failed to get one.

“They had it last year too, and everything was fine, but this year the traffic was excessive and was blocking off driveways. The evening ended about the time it was expected to end, may have ended a little early, but I think our team handled it well,” Howard said. “But for an event like that we need a permit so we know what is going on. We need a point of contact so we can get a feel of how much traffic we’re going to have to handle. We don’t want to shut it down.”

Howard said a permit wasn’t obtained last year either, but this year’s event was larger.

Howard said when the event broke up at Hammond Park, there were gatherings at other parts of the city that also blocked roads and driveways, bringing out law enforcement to move everybody along. There were, however, no arrests at Hammond Park, according to Monroe Police Chief R.V. Watts.

“We made some arrests close by. We had two people jump out of a car on East Spring Street during a traffic stop. We caught both suspects but I cannot say 100 % for sure they were coming from there,” Watts said.

Howard said it is about the safety of the community and it is important that emergency vehicles can get through if needed. There were no such incidents this time, just traffic concerns and the blocking of driveways. But Howard said a permit is needed to ensure that public safety can be made aware of the scope of an event and traffic controls put in place in order to be able to stay on top of it.

“We hope we can get it worked out next year so we can take care of the parking and ensure everybody has a good time and can get home safely,” Howard said.

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