Large crowd at Mifflin Street Block Party remains on good behavior

While the turnout for the annual Mifflin Street Block Party reached its highest numbers since 2012, the event overall ran smoothly for both attendees and police officers, according to Madison Police Department Lt. Carl Strasburg.

“It certainly goes to show that the Mifflin tradition is alive and well, despite the initial pronouncements,” Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said.

The Mifflin Street Block Party, which traces its roots back to 1969, has a violent history culminating in the stabbing and near death of a student in 2011, according to an MPD incident report. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was arrested during his time as an alder at the 1969 inaugural event, in which Vietnam protesters rioted against Madison police.

But this year’s event did not result in any clashes between law enforcement and partygoers. Instead, many attendees jokingly posed with police officers as though they were being arrested.

“Honestly it was just really a good time,” UW-Madison junior Tom Vermeulen said. “Nobody I saw was really belligerent or anything. I always felt safe.”

The strategy for policing this year’s Mifflin Street Block Party was to “ignore” the event until the day of the party, Verveer said. In past years, police have pledged to “crack down” and entirely eliminate Mifflin in the weeks leading up to the event. This year, MPD took a more relaxed approach.

While arrest numbers have not been released, more than 40 citations were issued, generally regarding either public intoxication or urination, according to an MPD incident report. In comparison, around 545 citations were issued in 2012.

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