Students' Clam Jam ends without major problems at Fairfield Beach
A large deployment of town police and private security officers, starting around 8 a.m. Saturday -- along with rain and cloudy skies -- kept a damper on Clam Jam, the annual pre-graduation bash thrown at Lantern Point by Fairfield University students.
In fact, at one point in the afternoon, decks at Lantern Point, a private condominium association off Fairfield Beach Road, were virtually empty instead of packed with revelers as in years past. Students without wristbands, required for entry to Lantern Point for Clam Jam, went to several other large parties along the beach, including one at houses on Lund Court.
Shortly after 3:30 p.m., police began closing down all the shoreline neighborhood parties, channeling students onto Reef Road.
During the course of the day, police issued 21 infractions for offenses that included open containers of alcohol, possession of alcohol by a minor, creating a public disturbance and criminal trespass. One of those open container stops happened as a student was walking past Police Chief Gary MacNamara carrying a cup of beer.
Another student was taken into custody after he allegedly punched one of the Bridgeport police horses in the head -- on hand to assist with crowd control -- while partyers were being dispersed. According to police Capt. Josh Zabin, the mounted patrol had given a female student several orders to move on, but she refused and "squared off" against the horse. The horse stepped on her foot, but her injuries were minor and she even continued to berate officers after she left the party, demanding their names. When she fell, police said, a man then punched the horse and was taken into custody, charged with interfering with an officer and breach of peace.
"I'd say the biggest impact to the neighborhood has been the foot traffic," Zabin said, "which we've made an effort to keep to the public walkways." He said despite a soaking rain earlier in the morning, about 300 students were outside Lantern Point around 8:30 a.m. "with no party to go to." He said 15 uniformed police officers were in place by 8 a.m., which "sent a strong message for the party guests."
Fairfield Beach Road resident Paige Herman praised the efforts of police and the private security firm hired by the Lantern Point Association for controlling the partyers, but repeated that she feels the party should be moved to the Fairfield University campus.
Representative Town Meeting member Bill Perugini, R-10, who lives in and represents the beach area, said he believes a lot of planning went into limiting the impact of this year's Clam Jam on the year-round residents, but noted it is a drain on town resources.
"A strong police presence has minimized the impact at Lantern Point, " Zabin said.
In addition to officers and private security firm, G-Force, hired by the condominium association, Fairfield police were assisted by officers from Westport, Bridgeport, Monroe and Trumbull though mutual-aid agreements.
Firefighters and EMTs were also on duty at Lantern Point throughout the afternoon, and among the calls they answered, were four medical cases caused by intoxication.