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December 19, 2014

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Burning Man festival draws crowd of 66,000

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AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron

In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, participants enjoy the Burning Man festival on the Black Rock Desert in Gerlach, Nev. Organizers call Burning Man the largest outdoor arts festival in North America, with its drum circles, decorated art cars, guerrilla theatrics and colorful theme camps.

RENO, Nev. — The Burning Man counterculture festival drew a peak crowd of nearly 66,000 celebrants as it neared an end Monday on the northern Nevada desert.

Gene Seidlitz of the federal Bureau of Land Management says the official peak attendance of 65,922 set on Friday was within the population cap of 68,000 imposed by his agency on the quirky art and music festival.

The number was down from last year's record peak crowd of 69,613, which exceeded the limit of 68,000 and resulted in organizers being placed on probation for a second time in three years for violating the BLM's cap.

Overall, Seidlitz says, this year's weeklong festival was successful and safe except for Thursday's death of a 29-year-old Wyoming woman who was struck by a bus carrying passengers.

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