Freaknik had happened once a year for nearly a decade, but virtually no white Atlantans (and few blacks over the age of forty) had heard of it—until Freaknik ’93 rolled into town and 100,000 students snarled streets, parks, and stores. Billed as the African American alternative to Daytona Beach or Panama City, the spring break gathering drew students from around the country, who converged on Piedmont Park, Lenox Square, and Underground, turning Peachtree Street into a massive outdoor party and freaking out older Atlantans. Anxious to show that the city would be ready for larger (and even more diverse) crowds by the time of the Olympics, city officials cracked down during the 1993 gathering. Later attempts to turn Freaknik into a sponsored event fizzled. — Rebecca Burns
This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue.
>> Video clip of Freaknik 1994