2014-05-15 / Front Page

'Flash mob' event shuts town down

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 3 p.m. - A video shoot organized by the Chamber of Commerce and local high school students brought traffic through the center of town to a standstill today. 

While most took the interruption in stride, a few motorists expressed annoyance with the suprise detour that forced them off Highway 140 and on to Bullion Street. 

"I think there should have been some kind of community notice (about the closure)," driver Claudia Gonzales said. "It did slow me down today."

Gonzales spent close to 40 minutes on a post office errand that would normally take about 15 minutes, she said.

Termed a "flash-mob" event, the shoot was modelled on other dance-oriented videos that have garnered attention on the YouTube Web site. Video from Tuesday's event was captured by students in Walt Hebern's video production class at Mariposa County High School. It will be edited to create a short film promoting Mariposa County as a tourist destination, Executive Director Kathy McCorry of the local Chamber said at Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting.

While Tuesday's traffic detour lasted close to two hours and affected hundreds of residents and visitors, most at the scene found it a welcome diversion.

"A lot of (my) shoppers got involved--they think it's fun," Sue Carney of Yosemite Gifts said. "This event is designed to promote Mariposa's economy, so if it interrupts business for a short time I don't mind."

High school senior Tierney Pretzer said she and other participants rehearsed dance routines for about five hours to get ready for the event. She was aware that motorists were diverted away from Mariposa's historic downtown for the event's duration, she said.

"I know there is some inconvenience," Pretzer said. "But this project is going to attract people to Mariposa and improve the town's economy."

This week's video shoot was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was moved up to Tuesday to let the senior class participate, teacher Walt Hebern said. 

On Wednesday, the senior class leaves for a graduation trip to Disneyland, Hebern explained.

The date change surprised more than motorists, it turned out.

"There was a bit of short notice," Sheriff Doug Binnewies said. "But we were able to get together with the other affected agencies and make it happen."

California Highway Patrol Segeant Sam Arrington said six CHP officers worked the event--including himself and one other sergeant.

CHP Officer Brian Casey directed a stream of traffic at highways 140 and 49 South for more than an hour on Tuesday. (Erik Skindrud | The GAZETTE)CHP Officer Brian Casey directed a stream of traffic at highways 140 and 49 South for more than an hour on Tuesday. (Erik Skindrud | The GAZETTE)

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I was glad to hear it was a

I was glad to hear it was a flash-mob rather than a shooting or an accident. Obviously you couldn't announce it, and the other streets were open. Be sure to let us know when we can watch it.

Very Cool! What a wonderful

Very Cool! What a wonderful community we live in. Thank you to everyone involved (in the many different agencies). Your ability to work together and create a can do environment for projects like this, makes me very proud to be a Mariposan!

Slow down and smell the roses

Slow down and smell the roses once in a while Ms Gonzales and any other annoyed citizens. It is good for the soul.

Can't wait to see this!!

Can't wait to see this!!

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