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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 33.0° F  Overcast
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Madison Halloween 2006 videos: Freakfest on State Street ends

Credit:David Michael Miller

By the time 1:30 a.m. approached early Sunday morning, Freakfest on State Street had been running for nearly six hours. It was about to end, though. In order to avoid the extra hour wrought by the end of Daylight Savings Time, city organizers and law enforcement ended the party one half-hour before clocks were to fall back, and some 90 minutes before bar time. The gates were closed and police officers began clearing the streets.

Every section of State Street cleared quickly with the exception of the 500 block and the adjacent intersection of State, Gilman and Broom streets. In the first 30 minutes following the official end of the party, crowds gathered in this area, with a small group of chanting, moshing revelers surrounded by a larger crowd of people watching the spectacle. A similar scene to those in previous years that ended with confrontation, police set about dispersing the crowd with a variety of methods. Isthmus production design artist David Michael Miller video of the action, observing the action from the sidewalk at the edge of the 500 block of State Street.

Four short video clips of the gathering follow below.

The first clip shows the crowd gathered at the intersection of State and Gilman streets, with many persons participating in the "Olé, Olé" chant a regular fixture at the end of the festivities in previous years.

The second clip shows a line of mounted police entering the crowd from the direction of Broom Street. While there is a small group of persons dancing in the middle of the road, most present are simply watching the spectacle.

The third clip shows the mounted police now standing in the middle of the crowd. More notable is the very audible pre-recorded law enforcement message that's broadcast over loudspeakers, one that multiple observers have referred to as reminiscent of Big Brother. It states: "Thank you for attending Freakfest 2006. Please begin moving out of the State Street area, so that clean up crews can prepare this area for tomorrow's business day."

The fourth and final clip focuses upon a small group at the center of the crowd that remains loud and mildly raucous. In response, police are surveiling the action with video cameras mounted atop poles to reach several feet above the top of the crowd.

Shortly after these videos were shot, the crowd peaceably dispersed. By 1:30 a.m. (after clocks fell back an hour with the end of Daylight Savings Time), the streets were pretty much clear.

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