The Mall Crawl.
Two years ago at this time, the Boulder police said, “We are willing to take whatever measures are necessary to prevent a Mall Crawl activity from developing again.” They weren’t kidding! First, they threatened two law-abiding Boulder citizens by sending armed police officers to their houses to deliver a message: “Stop trying to bring back the Halloween Mall Crawl, or you may face $40,000 fines for the actions of others.” The ACLU later said these actions by the police “were unfounded and unconstitutional, chilling and threatening rights protected by the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.” Not only that, the BPD marshaled 54 officers, a remote command post and two SWAT teams (including armored tank-like vehicle) to be ready to fight the people of Boulder, a police effort that cost the tax payers of Boulder $48,730.
Why did the police do all this? To stem the threat of pedestrians enjoying the pedestrian mall of Pearl St. on Halloween. Yes, the powers that be in Boulder had a severe case of post-traumatic-stress-disorder from the 1980s when the Mall Crawl party grew over the years to having 40,000 people, a point where the Boulder police felt they had to shut it down. (We’ve even heard from people who attended in the 80s that the police fomented probelms by trying to cram the crowd into a tight space.) Because of that, they thought that overnight, twenty years later, that the town could devolve into a riotous mess. Why? Because of a couple of young guys got on Facebook and dared utter the words “Mall Crawl.” It was a sad day for the Boulder police and for Boulder’s spirit.
The reality is that the Mall Crawl is great for Boulder. 2009 and 2010 were models of fun where all ended well. Plus, the Mall Crawl keeps Boulder fun, and Boulder needs all the help it can get! Why?
Here are fun Boulder things that have been snuffed out:
>> The Kinetics: an all day beach party that hosted 40,000 people in the 1990’s at the Boulder Reservoir, systematically killed through red tape and over-enforcement of rules.
>> Over enforcement of alcohol laws by police on the Hill in the 1990’s, which caused riots of rebellion
>> Denying a liquor license to the owner of Illegal Pete’s when he tried to open a Cuban style restaurant in the former Tulagi space, something that would have revitalized the Hill
>> Denying a bar/restaurant concept in the former Flatirons Theater, it’s now a dispensary
>> And of course, a squashing of the Naked Pumpkin Run
Should Boulder be a place where only sanitized, tightly-controlled events are allowed? Or should spontaneity, mystery, and fun be left to live on? Let’s keep Boulder fun by keeping the Mall Crawl alive—here’s to seeing you on Pearl St. for Halloween 2011. Like the Mall Crawl Facebook page, to join the fun and help the legend grow!