Madison police arrested about 150 people at Saturday\’s sponsored event, which is less than half the number of people arrested at last year\’s festivities.[/media-credit]

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Showcasing a sponsor for the first time since 1995, the 40th anniversary of the Mifflin Street Block Party Saturday proved to be an overwhelming success according to partygoers, sponsors and the Madison Police Department.

For the first time in five years, the number of arrests during the event declined, hitting its lowest mark since 2003.

As of 7:30 p.m. Saturday, approximately 140 individuals had been arrested and cited for minor offenses, mostly alcohol-related, and only two partygoers were taken to the Dane County Jail, according to Joel DeSpain, spokesperson for the MPD.

Last year about 440 people were arrested at the block party and of those arrested, 63 were sent to the Dane County Jail.

“We were very pleased with the [University of Wisconsin] students and those who gathered,” DeSpain said. “They kept the beer off the streets.”

DeSpain also said, with the exception of a few minor batteries and one UW student falling down a flight of stairs, rowdy behavior was minimal.

Although no estimated number of attendees was released by the police, Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he guesses between 15,000 and 20,000 were present at the block party due to the weather and music.

Last year an estimated 10,000 people were at the event.

Verveer said he thinks DCNY PRO’s sponsorship contributed to the police’s tolerance of behavior at the event. Instead of arresting people who held plastic cups or cans on sidewalks or open grass areas, Verveer said police warned Mifflin attendees to move onto private territory instead of immediately issuing a citation.

“I’m thrilled with the party and how everything went [Saturday] from really beginning to end,” Verveer said. “Having a music stage and vendors and porta-potties in the streets for the first time since 1995 did make a big difference and really contributed to a chill party.”

DCNY PRO Co-owner Ny Bass said he has attended the Mifflin Street Block Party for 10 years, and this was the best Mifflin he has been to. Bass added he has received only good feedback from people about the food vendors and music.

Jenny Underwood, station manager for WSUM 91.7, said DJs were a great asset to the party because so many people were in front of the soundstage dancing.

Joel Plant, assistant to Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, said the city was actively pursuing a sponsor for the past four to five years and having DCNY PRO and WSUM involved with the block party really enhanced the event.

He said though the crowd was larger, they were more jovial and had a more positive attitude than previous years.

Dan Randolph, a UW sophomore, said he has been attending the Mifflin Street Block Party since high school and has never seen the cops as “cool” as they were this year.

“This is 100 percent party to the max,” Randolph said. “We’re drinking, we’re having fun and we’re partying to the max; more than we have in fucking years.”

However, despite the overwhelming support of the newly sponsored event, some Mifflin attendees preferred the event of years earlier.

“I liked [Mifflin] before when there was more freedom. It wasn’t as regulated,” UW senior Brett Statema said. “I’m saying when I first started here, my first year, everything was … a lot more fun. Now there’s so many vendors, sponsors, it’s not the same.”