Back in the good old days, we used to drink for a cause, damn it.

That’s what your curmudgeon grandparent might mutter at you, if he or she attended the very first Mifflin Street Block Party nearly half a century ago.

What is now a hideous frenzy of sunburnt buffoons pounding Jose Cuervo into their faces began in 1969 as a student-led protest against the Vietnam War. The inaugural event devolved into a three-day riot that yielded 100 arrested demonstrators, among them current Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, who was arrested twice.

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Though the Vietnam War ended just a few years later, it did not break the sturdy Badger resolve to get plastered at noon and vomit into a storm drain.

The grand tradition of Mifflin has continued for decades, gradually shedding its activist motivations in favor of a more general display of brutish, inebriated hedonism.

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This Saturday, pour one out in honor of the decades of drunken antics that came before you. In the case of Mifflin, contemporary partygoers truly stand on the shoulders of giants.

Year: Circa 1970
Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society

Year: 2016
Katie Cooney/The Badger Herald