FOX47 NEWS - College Students Party on Mifflin Street

Jeff Angileri
May 2, 2009, 7:25 PM

The first Saturday in May means Mifflin Street is packed with college party goers.

Madison police say this year's block party is mellow compared to years past -- about 35 arrests as of 4 p.m.

They're attributing the more orderly atmosphere to the sponsors -- for the first time in a decade, the event has sponsorship. That means music, food, and organizers say, positive energy.

Having vendors really helps the event be organized, said Bridget Maniaci, 2nd district alder. It gives people who are here something to do other than to try to get into a stranger's house to go drink.

Being in so many places at once -- we've had to be over by the food vendors and everything, said concert promoter Ny Bass, co-owner of DCNY Pro. We really haven't had any trouble, there hasn't been any issues with people.

Sponsors also bring with them the simple, but important things.

So far, I'm thrilled, said Madison City councilman Mike Verveer. The fact that we have port-o-potties alone is a tremendous improvement.

To keep the peace, police officers roamed Mifflin Street in pairs, on horseback, and put up barricades. Dozens of people were arrested and cited for alcohol violations.

We don't like to have to cite a lot of people, but again you've got to have some rules, some order, some structure, said MPD spokesperson Joel DeSpain.

Police had to break up several house parties because of dangerous, over-crowded balconies. But in general, organizers say people were complying with the law, and enjoying a fun party on a gorgeous day.

This is really a campus tradition that celebrates spring, and allows students to enjoy themselves before they really have to worry about final papers, projects and exams, said Verveer.

There was some concern the swine flu threat would prompt organizers to cancel the event, or deter people from coming.

Those fears never really materialized and most people on Mifflin Street said the swine flu never crossed their minds.

Last year, police arrested more than 400 people at the Mifflin block party.

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