Over the course of his five-plus years in office, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has presided over the fall and rise of Halloween on State Street. The trouble started in 2002, the autumn before he was elected, but continued for another three years through most of his first term, with tear gas-soaked confrontations between riot police and a rump crowd of adrenalin-hungry revelers continuing through 2005. Fed up, the mayor's office and the MPD decided to reboot the party and conceived the admission-based music and costume festival dubbed Freakfest.
Trends over the first two years of Freakfest have been hopeful for the city, with both arrest numbers and overall police costs dropping, though moderate ticket sales as well as the reduced amount of income from alcohol and other citations have so far kept the party in the red. The quality of the entertainment has risen too, with popular collegiate act O.A.R. headlining this year's slate of performers. The city's expectations are high, with higher ticket prices and a lower number of police officers on the street both in the offing, in the hopes that the revelry has been tamed.
No matter what happens, the mayor will head out on Saturday night to survey the scene at Freakfest. Every year, he and a collection of staff, alders, and cops have walked the length of State Street in between visits to the police command center in the Madison Fire Department Station 1 and the arrest processing center in the City-County Building, both to show their faces and to gauge the vibe of the party.
It could be Cieselewicz's second night on State Street over the weekend. This year's scheduling of the revelry is rather peculiar, with Freakfest organizers selecting the traditional Saturday night for the party despite the fact that October 31 falls on a Friday. Police are expecting crowds that night too, and though the mayor's schedule ends early on Halloween with a little "Office/work time," it may merely end up being the first of two long nights for him.
MAYOR CIESLEWICZ WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Monday, October 27, 2008
11:00 a.m. Policy Staff Meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
12:00 p.m. Common Council Leadership Meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
4:30 p.m. Board of Estimates Meeting (MMB 260)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
7:30 a.m. Small Business Advisory Meeting (GMCC)
10:30 a.m. Mayor's Management Team Meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
2:00 p.m. Office/work time
4:00 p.m. Guest speaker at UW-Madison "Leadership Seminar" class (Ingraham Hall)
6:30 p.m. Common Council Meeting (City-County Bldg, Room 201)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
9:30 a.m. Interview with John Colbert (State Capitol Bldg)
10:00 a.m. Staff Meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
12:00 p.m. Alder Brown Bag Luncheon (Mayor's Conf. Room)
3:30 p.m. Alder Marsha Rummel, Marianne Morton, Mark Olinger, Mario Mendoza (Mayor's Conf. Room)
4:30 p.m. Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc. Quarterly Meeting (Mayor's Conf. Rm)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
7:30 a.m. New Music Review (105.5, Triple M)
8:30 a.m. Speak at Sustainable Real Estate Development Conference (Fluno Center)
12:00 p.m. Lunch with Superintendent Dan Nerad (Ocean Grill)
2:00 p.m. Chief Debra Amesqua, Joel Plant (Mayor's Office)
3:00 p.m. Gary Werner, Jon Becker, Peter McKeever, Harry Read, Connie Threinen, Phyllis Hasbrouck, Ray Harmon (Mayor's Conf. Room)
Friday, October 31, 2008
10:00 a.m. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony -- Bram Street Underpass
11:00 a.m. Common Council Leadership Meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
2:00 p.m. Office/work time
Saturday, November 1, 2008
9:00 p.m. Freakfest 2008