Sponsor Pulls Out Of Mifflin Block Party

Madison’s annual spring Mifflin Street Block Party encountered a setback this week.

Mifflin Street’s lone event sponsor is no longer planning the May 5 party.

Sponsor or no, city of Madison officials said they realize Mifflin Street will be swarming with party-goers in less than two months.

The infamous block party turned violent in 2011, leaving the city to consider the event’s future. Police officers were hurt, two people were stabbed and 161 revelers were arrested.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Mifflin Street resident Romain Coquard.

Coquard had a front-row seat, hosting his own balcony bash.

“I don’t think the open container law on the streets was a very good idea,” said Coquard, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student.

“Drinking on the street, open intoxicants, won’t be allowed this year,” said Mark Woulf, the alcohol policy coordinator for the city of Madison.

Madison’s trying to reinvent the historic bash, but now the event’s only sponsor, All-Star Catering of Hudson, Wis., is pulling out.

“The city is not expecting a formal sponsorship at this point from an outside entity,” Woulf said.

“When you consider all of the issues surrounding the Mifflin Street Block Party, a sponsor is not a big issue. The most important issues are the health and safety of the participants and to have behavior that does not lead to trouble,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said.

Woulf said even without a sponsor, there will be food vendors and portable toilets. The city is now trying to figure out who will foot the bill for those two things and what the future holds for the block party.

“We’re not going to end it in one year. We’re going to scale it back. We want to return it to a truer block party. If that can’t happen, then the future of the event is certainly in jeopardy, and that depends on the atmosphere,” Woulf said.

Sponsor or not, city support or not, some students said they believe the party will go on no matter what.

“It’s definitely inevitable, I would say, just because it’s such a tradition of UW-Madison,” Coquard said.

As for why the catering company, which has participated in the block party before, is deciding not to be the sponsor, Woulf said, “It didn’t seem there was too much developed as far as a security plan and really understanding all that goes into such a large event. So, at that point (the company’s owner) withdrew his application.”

WISC-TV tried to contact the company but wasn’t able to reach anyone for comment.