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Nearly 100 combatants took part

A group descended on the intersection of Harvard and Brighton avenues in Allston, armed with water balloons. (GABRIELLE DUNN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)

By Gabrielle T. Dunn

Globe Correspondent / August 24, 2008

A horde of green bandana-clad warriors descended on the intersection of Harvard and Brighton avenues in Allston yesterday, screaming, squirting, and slinging water balloons until Boston police, who said the fun was getting out of hand, stepped in to break it up.

Answering the call of a local arts group, nearly 100 combatants, clad in wrestling masks, trucker hats, and military fatigues and armed with squirt pistols, hydrocannons, and water balloons, engaged in an impromptu public display of late-summer zaniness. At one point, a sport utility vehicle drove by, and one of its occupants sprayed the crowd through the passenger window with a blue squirt cannon.
"That's cheating!" a few people yelled.
But not everyone was in on the joke. Throughout the free-for-all, three Boston police vehicles circled the intersection or parked watchfully nearby.
After a half-hour and after some participants began hitting unsuspecting vehicles with balloons and Super Soaker blasts, officers got out of their cars and broke up the fight, visiting each corner of the intersection to tell people to pack it up due to safety issues.
"You guys had your fun," a female officer told some of the soggy combatants. "It's a busy intersection. There are little kids here. We don't want to see anybody get hurt."
The event, dubbed Allston Squirt Gun Day, was put on by a group of local artists calling themselves The Clone Collective.
The battle was the second squirt gun war in Boston this month.
Last week a group of 20-somethings, Banditos Misteriosos, loosely recreated a Revolutionary War battle on the Esplanade, complete with fifes, drums, and blue- and red-clad combatants toting water guns.
One of yesterday's participants, Tanya Morrisette, said she was there with her family from Lexington to celebrate turning 39.
"What better way to celebrate your birthday?" she said.
Morrisette said she was "primed and ready" for the big fight, as was her 9-year-old son John, who crouched beside her in the ready position. In his hands was "The Storm," a new, high-tech, neon green water gun the family had recently purchased from a toy store in Coolidge Corner.
A Clone Collective member and event organizer - Justin Silkwood, 31, of Allston - said he did not feel that the police had spoiled the playful spirit of the day.
"The police were very kind about how they broke it up," he said. "They were there for 15 minutes, so they could have stopped it before. I actually thank them for letting it go on as long as it did."
But some squirt enthusiasts said they felt their fun had been spoiled prematurely.
Troy Schoeller, the owner of the nearby shop Horror Business on Harvard Avenue, complained that he has just filled up his water weapon for another go when the police showed up. In a small show of defiance, the 32-year-old and his girlfriend decided to continue their own personal battle on the sidewalk.
Boston police spokesman James Kenneally said officers had no choice but to step in.
"If you got people running in and out of traffic in a busy intersection, they're creating a dangerous situation and a public safety issue," Kenneally said.
Silkwood said the police told him that the group had not broken any laws, except littering. He said he and his fellow Clones planned to clean up the water balloon pieces in the intersection later that day.
Silkwood said the group was planning to move up a second session of the squirt battle planned for yesterday evening by a half hour to lessen the chance of police intervention.
"We're going to sort of trick them a little bit," he said.

Premium Member
5,852 Posts
Mr Silkwood, it would be a real hoot if you could recruit those people to run across Rte. 128 whilst peppering each other with water balloons and the like. At the very least it would actually look like a war zone, instead of just pretending.
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