Major Collegiate Gathering (This is NOT FreakNik)

Fraternities, sororities congregating for “Atlanta Greek Picnic”.

By LaShawn Hudson and Ariel McBride Contributing Writers | 6/7/2013, 12:20 p.m.
The days when hordes of Black youth – some collegians, some not – could converge on Atlanta en masse, clogging ...
The Atlanta Greek Picnic is an annual weekend-long gathering of members from Black fraternities and sororities.

The days when hordes of Black youth – some collegians, some not – could converge on Atlanta en masse, clogging streets and creating chaos in the process, are over.

Freaknik, as we knew and loathed it, will not be making a comeback. But there will be a gathering of an expected 10,000 members from Black fraternities and sororities in town over the weekend. They’re assembling under an umbrella event known as the annual Atlanta Greek Picnic.

Local law enforcement is gearing up for their arrival, and the social events they’ll be staging around town.

Atlanta Police Department spokesperson Carlos Campos said that they’re taking the necessary precautions to keep all attendees safe and under control.

“AGP organizers are hiring some off-duty officers,” he said. “We will augment that with the on-duty officers to help provide a presence at the venues.”

To reduce the risk of crime over the weekend, Campos added, “We have a ‘Clean Car’ campaign that we encourage folks to follow, which reduces theft from motor vehicles by encouraging owners not to leave valuables in their car.”

This marks the ninth year that Atlanta Greek Picnic has been heavily marketed toward Black collegians nationwide. While it has grown to encompass a job fair, a 5K race and a worship service, the main attraction remains parties and step shows in which different fraternity and sorority chapters compete for bragging rights and cash prizes.

“Not only are we going to have fun this weekend by stepping,” said Melanie McDonald, a third-year student at Florida A&M, “we’re going to build long-term professional relationships with Greeks throughout the country and give back to our community through service projects.”

The most highly anticipated AGP events are the step show and scroll off for fraternities and sororities tonight (5-10 p.m.) at Morehouse College’s Forbes Arena and the grand picnic Saturday (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.) on the lawn at Morris Brown College.

“The picnic and the step show were the most exciting events last year,” said McDonald, a Baltimore native.

A full list of the festivities is available on the AGP mobile app. On the event’s web page, attendees can also buy commemorative merchandise and event tickets.

“This started as an idea to unite all of the Divine 9 (fraternities and sororities) as a whole for a collective event,” said AGP President, Tiwa Works. “A lot of people label Black organizations as not being connected. Despite their different colors, we all can come together for a common purpose.”

It goes without saying that such a large communal occasion can turn into a logistical nightmare; especially for those who aren’t used to Atlanta’s traffic patterns. Some regional groups have organized to charter buses to get here.

“I encourage Greeks that are traveling to take the bus,” said Laurence Whitely, a 30-year-old graduate from Virginia Union University who is planning to reconnect with fellow members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

“It’s a great bonding experience, and a great way to interact with people from other chapters within your region.”

For more information visit www.atlantagreekpicnic.com.