Madison Needs To End Mifflin Street Party


I love Madison.  I love to talk about the great things this city has to offer, and what we contribute to the rest of Wisconsin.  This is my home, and a place in which I have lots of pride.  That is why it really annoys and frustrates me over what took place this weekend during the Mifflin Street Party.

If this were the first time I was frustrated with this event I might feel different.  But this is a yearly feeling when the reports of the drinking and arrests make the news.  This year the  two stabbings that took place were the last straw.

The drinking party that has been a yearly spectacle for this city, and a continuing embarrassment, must come to an end.  Clearly there is no other reason for the crowd to assemble then to booze it up, create refuse, fill detox centers, needlessly cause city resources to be used, and create bedlam.

The event started in 1969 as a way to protest the Vietnam War, but today the crowds that descend on Mifflin Street could not explain the reason the event started, or what great social reason draws them together now.  If they did try to give words to the reason they attended it would  only come out slurred.

Madison needs to come to grips with the fact the ONLY reason the Mifflin Street Party takes place is so a large and often unruly group can abuse alcohol.  It seems the organizers have no desire to see the event to be anything other than what we witnessed this weekend.  If they did they never would have suggested lifting the ban on open alcoholic beverages in the streets. 

Who could not see the end result of this policy disaster?

I suspect many local politicians will try to feign a shocked look when trying to explain how this never was considered a possible outcome.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin thought the new ideas for more music and fun was a grand idea for this year’s event.

“Just when we thought there were no new ways of having a block party, we’ve found a new way,” Soglin said. “This is a rather different and much improved effort to celebrate spring.”

I strongly opposed the lifting of the ban on open alcoholic beverages in the streets within the event zone for the party this year.  That’s a big change from past years, when police had been ticketing people who had open containers of alcohol anywhere off private property.

Lets be honest about something here.

Anything that encourages more alcohol consumption at this event should be discouraged.

Why is that so hard for some to understand when it comes to this yearly embarrassment to the city.

Having said that it is time Madison makes a very clear statement about the future of the Mifflin Street Party.

Enough is enough.

The party must be over.

The Mifflin Street Party is something that I strongly suspect most taxpayers are not interested in paying for when it comes to the number of police officers it requires to keep order.  This year the event turned violent with two stabbings, and 160 arrests.  Detox centers had too many cases (at least 20 cases this year), and even a hospital had to be engaged as one stabbing victim required surgery.

Local politicians will try to tinker around the edges and try calming everyone down with tough words.   Some will offer ideas on how to better manage a drunk-fest, which is all the Mifflin Street Party is at the end of the day.

There is no reason that the majority of the residents of this city should be embarrassed, or need to pay for the bad decisions that allowed for this party to take place.  Likewise the residents of Madison should demand that no more permits be granted for this party in the future.

Too often we try to gloss over the hard facts.  After this weekend it will be harder to do that.

This must be the final Mifflin Street Party in Madison. 

Enough is enough.

6 thoughts on “Madison Needs To End Mifflin Street Party

  1. Mike

    What a joke of a post.

    1) Don’t preface your post with some stupid outward theme like “I love Madison” just to rip on a tradition that the city is known for across the country.

    2) We might as well cancel all Badger football games because clearly those too are a reason for kids to abuse alcohol.

    3) How the hell to you plan to have the city “end Mifflin”. Even if the city didn’t chip in this year every house would still have a party on the last week in April and thousands would flock to the city. You can’t just end a party that has no true structure.

  2. Mike,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Now lets get real.

    While UW-Madison is known for binge drinking, and the state of Wisconsin is known for lax drunk-driving laws I think most voters and taxpayers find this all to be an embarrassment. I also think I speak for the majority of Madison when I say what took place on Saturday on Mifflin Street is stain on this city. There is no way to pick a turd up by the clean end, and for you to try on this issue only makes you look the fool.

    There is nothing wrong with loving this city, and wanting the best to shine. What took place on the isthmus yesterday was a stain on the city, and nothing that can garner pride anywhere.

    While college football games are often noted for their heavy drinking I have never heard or read a Madison Police Chief describe a game in the same terms of drunkeness and fights as what took place Saturday on Mifflin Street.

    If you are suggesting that there is no way to bring to a conclusion the actions that take place yearly at Mifflin Street when these acts break out, then I guess we have a differing opinion on the use of the law and the role of police in society. The tail does not wag the dog in most homes.

    I will be watching Monday for the detailed police report to shed more light on this problem.

    Until then I repeat…….Too often we try to gloss over the hard facts. After this weekend it will be harder to do that.

    This must be the final Mifflin Street Party in Madison.

    Enough is enough.

  3. Andy Kerber

    dekerivers, thank you for saying exactly what I’ve been thinking for months. The binge drinking in this city has always disgusted me. Surely, there are more interesting things to do in the state capital than drink yourself into a stupor.

    I’m just happy that I’m only a student here, and don’t have to contribute to supporting their drinking through police patrol funding through my taxes.

  4. Mayor Soglin also said that the issue should have been brought before the Common Council. Not sure why this deal was worked out in a back room. Seems like the problem was open alcohol on the street. They had music last year and the only vendors were food vendors. Arrests were way down. The music ended early. The party was tame if not a little boring. Alcohol was restricted to yards. The only reason for adding a beer vendor this year would have been for someone to make money. Unfortunate that the event sponsors put profit over safety.

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