ON THE COVER
STAFF PHOTO ANDY SHUPE – Visitors walk up Block Avenue during the Block Street Block Party Sunday, May 18, 2014, in Fayetteville. Visit photos.nwaonline.com for more photos from the day.
Get ready for six beer gardens, more than 40 local bands and local vendors as far as the eye can see up and down Block Street. The best free party of the year in Fayetteville is this weekend, y’all.
Block Street Block Party is set, rain or shine for noon to dark Sunday, May 21. What began as a celebration for the end of Block’s construction update on the road and its reopening has since become a local institution.
If you’ve never experienced Block Street Block Party, know this: it’s free to attend, full of activities to do for all ages from children’s inflatables and crafts to beer gardens and live music. In a lot of ways, it’s a highlight of everything Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas has to offer for entertainment and crafts, and everything from the food to the bands are local.
It’s a status update of sorts for Block Street and the NWA community’s arts and businesses. The event brings in up to 10,000 attendees throughout the day. It’s always a shuffle and adaptation for upcoming talent, local favorites, new businesses and developments on Block, said Hannah Withers, organizer for the event.
“I whine about it jokingly, but the reason we keep doing it is because of how much people love it,” she said. “I love our street. We’re a great community.”
One of the challenges organizers faced this year is the recent building developments on previously unoccupied lots that allowed for various types of vendors. Fear not though, as the pony rides, remote control car racing, a doggie pool and inflatable slides are all returning.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Corey DeAngelis of Fayetteville shows off some dance moves Sunday May 22, 2016 at the 6th Annual Block Street Block Party in Fayetteville. Several thousand people attended the annual street party with events like waiter races, beer gardens, live music and vendors.
Experience Fayetteville has joined in on the organizing efforts this year, which has been a big help with their resources, Withers said.
There are six beer gardens and stages each with a unique lineup of local talent and more than 40 artists or bands performing throughout.
Some new local businesses, such as Pinpoint — a pinball themed bar and lounge going in where JR’s Lightbulb Club used to be (RIP) — will be making their first public appearances. However, Owner Bo Counts said the bar won’t be fully ready to open to the public, but the bar has teamed up with Hugo’s for a beer garden and stage.
KPSQ, Fayetteville’s new independent radio station, will be hosting a stage for the first time at the top of Block street on the downtown Fayetteville square. Proceeds from the beer garden will go to benefiting the station’s mission to provide a platform for the community to have a voice and fund renovations for a live performance studio at the station.
Several vendors and organizations often plan unique activities and demonstrations.
“I think that we’ve established the way to make this event great is to let people figure out how to do something hands on and a little bit out of the box,” Withers said. “People are coming to the event with the intent to do something a little different beyond just setting up a 10 by 10 tent.”
NWA Media/ANDY SHUPE – Wendi La Fey of Eureka Springs twirls handmade pom-poms while wearing a crochet dress during the Block Street Block Party Sunday, May 18, 2014, on Block Avenue in Fayetteville. The event features activities, food and music from vendors and businesses along the avenue.
For example, Circle of Life Hospice is doing a huge interactive chalkboard project that will be about writing a bucket list of things you want to do before you die.
7 Hills Homeless Shelter is also hosting dunk tanks with local leaders and even the chance to dunk Fayetteville’s state representatives, Greg Leding and Charlie Collins.
The long-time favorite Waiters’ Race outside Little Bread Company will return at 3 p.m. The race will feature members of the service industry completing an obstacle course with a tray full of water cups for a cash prize.
If you get hungry, there’s going to be several food vendors to choose from including Ramblin’ Man, LobLolly Creamery, Berry Natural, Blackboard Grocery, Lucky Luke’s BBQ, Shakedown StrEAT, Pedal Pops, Kind Kitchen, Wood Fired Pizza as well as the regular Block Street restaurants.
Organizers are still looking for volunteers and you can apply at blockstreetbusinesses.com. For more up to date information about the event, be sure to follow along on the event’s Facebook page.
Remember, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated out there, folks.