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Friday, July 25, 2014

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Mock wedding celebrant in 'litter' bit of trouble

Updated 4:10 pm, Monday, May 12, 2014
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Perhaps it was just exuberance at the mock nuptials planned by Fairfield University students.

Thomas Dalo, 21, of Allendale, N.J., who police said was part of a group of about 300 university students walking down Reef Road Sunday afternoon to catch buses to what has become a pre-graduation tradition for seniors at the college, was issued a $219 infraction for littering.

A police officer on patrol around 1 p.m. saw the students walking toward six waiting buses parked at Veterans Park. He said Dalo picked up a large stack of newspapers from a recycling bin, stood in the middle of the road and tossed the papers into the air. According to the report, the scattered newspapers blanketed the southbound lane of Reef Road and a front lawn. Asked why he did it, police said Dalo responded, "One of my friends told me to do it."

The mock wedding tradition began in 1996, according to a story in The Mirror, the university's student paper, as a theme party at Lantern Point, with seniors dressed as a bride or groom. The party grew, and eventually because of its reputation, was staged at locations out of town because local venues were not willing to play host. The 2009 mock wedding reportedly cost $60,000, with students paying $95 for a wedding ticket.

According to the Fairfield Mirror, the 2008 president of the Student Beach Resident Association was charged for damage students allegedly did to several buses during the mock wedding event that year.

The mock wedding is a prelude to Clam Jam, the large waterfront party that will held at Lantern Point the weekend after Easter this year. Students living at the beach have already had a meeting with police to go over the injunction in place at Lantern Point that controls the access and size of the Clam Jam. Under the terms of the injunction, there can be no more than 250 people at Lantern Point at any one time. In recent years, attendees have had to show a wristband for admittance.

There usually is a large police presence in the shoreline neighborhood for Clam Jam, and the Lantern Point condominium association also hires extra officers and security.