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'Great success'
Myron Olson of Chalet Cheese Cooperative and Dan Kaiser of Alpine Slicing Cheese Conversion help take down the setup for the Cheese Days' old world cheesemaking demonstrations. "It's a relief," Olson said Monday morning. "It was good to see everyone that came, and now it's time to plan for two years (from now)." Kaiser said this was his 19th Cheese Days cleanup. "Now I can get rest," Kaiser said. To order this photo, click here. (Times photos: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - According to estimates from the Monroe Police and the Green County Department of Tourism, Cheese Days 2016 may have been the largest Cheese Days yet.

Although no hard data are yet available, Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley and Cheese Days director Noreen Rueckert agreed that this year's Cheese Days was at least as large as 2014's.

"As far as sales go, it definitely looks like it was the biggest crowd ever," Rueckert said.

Rueckert said all vendors at the festival reported incredibly strong sales after the festival closed Sunday evening, while the Square appeared more crowded Saturday night than it had in 2014.

"If attendance wasn't greater, then it certainly was about equal to last time," Kelley said.

Kelley said the Monroe Police used the spread of parking congestion to calculate rough estimates of attendance each day.

According to this metric, Kelley said Friday saw between 8,000 and 10,000 attendees, Saturday between 20,000 and 25,000, and Sunday between 15,000 and 20,000.

Despite the amount of visitors, neither Kelley nor Rueckert reported any significant problems with the festival.

Kelley reported that only three arrests were made over the weekend in connection to the festival. The first, on Friday, came after a brief disturbance broke out south of the Square.

Another arrest Saturday occurred when a person kicked in the front door of a residence, incorrectly believing it to be the home of a friend. The final arrest occurred Sunday after a disturbance in a bar.

Other than the arrests, police issued 46 parking-related tickets during the festival, a number that Kelley said was similar to previous years.

Rueckert said no significant problems marred the festival, other than a brief period Saturday evening when the festival's portable toilets needed to be pumped out sooner than expected.

Kelley said a brief downpour Friday caused minor flooding on the Square, because mesh installed in the storm drains caused the rainwater to drain more slowly than normal. However, Kelley said, the problem was fixed in short order by puncturing the mesh.

Rueckert said that otherwise the festival went smoothly. She even said there were no gaps in the parade Sunday, which is one of the most common complaints she receives.

"All in all, the whole thing was a great success," Rueckert said.