Mob descends on Turlington for 'Harlem Shake' flash mob


Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.

At exactly 12:41 p.m. Friday, a lone man on a table wearing a plush gator head began to gyrate in the middle of the University of Florida's Turlington Plaza.

His cue was the Internet hit "Harlem Shake," popularized by the recent YouTube viral outbreak, in which large groups of people gather and perform a dance to the song. Offices, sports teams and college campuses have contributed to the online craze.

By the time the music hit its heavy, industrial crescendo on Friday, hundreds of UF students had already flooded Turlington Plaza and began dancing along. Those unaware of the collective effort stopped to witness the flash mob in action. All told, several thousand people crammed in and around Turlington to catch a glimpse.

Kate Alicante, a freshman at UF, described the experience as exciting and easy to participate in.

"You just had to show up on time," Alicante said. "They counted down, the music started and everyone just went."

Alicante said she found out about the flash mob through a friend, who had been invited to the Facebook event.

Seth Lindstrom, a creator of the event, said about 5,000 invitations had been sent online.

Lindstrom, a junior at the UF, learned about the viral video series last Saturday and was inspired to create one here at UF. He felt that not only could UF join the trend, it could beat the competition.

"We could do a whole lot bigger," Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom began with 100 invites to people that he knew. Slowly, as news of the event was passed outside his circle of friends, it became viral itself. By Friday, the number of people who joined had swelled to 1,198.

Lindstrom attributes the strong turnout to the spirit of the UF student body.

"It was ... the attitude and joy on campus," he said.

Although Alicante admits to being a poor dancer, she said the energy of the crowd enticed her to participate.

Alicante recalled people climbing onto each other's backs; the Mario and Luigi costumes; and the sombreros. "Fist pumping was very popular," she said. So was Gator chomping.

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