In Minneapolis, joyful celebrations by Obama supporters

  • Article by: ALLIE SHAH and LORA PABST , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: November 5, 2008 - 3:40 AM

Barack Obama's victory in the presidential race sparked noisy, joyful celebrations in public places and private homes in Minneapolis late Tuesday and early today, especially among his youthful supporters.

Well after midnight, giddy revelers were still arriving at the largest public celebration, which had spontaneously erupted a couple of hours earlier on Cedar Avenue in the city's Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

Hundreds of Obama supporters danced, swayed, sang, chanted and waved Obama-Biden signs in the streets and on the sidewalks as cars honked, often in rhythmic unison. Occasionally, a police car would turn on its flashers and make its way slowly through the crowd to clear the street, but police officers mostly stood by, watching the cacophonous but peaceful celebration.

The revelers included many University of Minnesota students, as well as Somali immigrant residents of the area.

Many in the crowd recorded the lively event on their cell phone cameras.

"I can't imagine any other president who would have this kind of effect," said reveler Camille Cyprian, 23, of St. Paul, who said she heard about the street celebration while at another event and decided to check it out. "Who else could be elected who could do this? It'd have to be someone like Oprah.

"I think it's just the inspiration Obama brings and the cultural and historical significance of his victory," she said. "To see him elected pretty much by a landslide -- that has inspired everyone."

Across the Mississippi River, young people spilling out of the Bob Dylan concert at the university's Northrop Auditorium about 10:30 p.m. danced and cheered wildly upon hearing of Obama's victory.

Larry Turner of St. Paul ignited the concert crowd with his drum beats, which echoed for blocks around campus.

"When the kids came out of the concert, I was playing the beat and they just started dancing," Turner said. "I've never seen anything like that."

University freshmen Jake Long and Jacob Johnson were in the dining hall at their dormitory when they heard that Obama had won. They rushed over to the mall that stretched out in front of Northrop, following the pounding drum and rush of students.

"People started jumping on tables and screaming," Long said.

"There were streakers and people were climbing out of their windows," Johnson added. "I have to get up at 6 tomorrow morning, and I don't think I'm going to get any sleep."

Throughout Minneapolis, reports of gunfire were called into police all night, but police officers who checked them out would quickly report that the sounds were just celebratory fireworks set off by citizens.

Fireworks were especially loud in the area around Lake Street and Chicago Avenues S. • 651-698-1550 • 612-673-4628

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