Block Party Celebrated the Arts

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Block Party Celebrated the Arts

People flood High Street to enjoy music and refreshments.

People flood High Street to enjoy music and refreshments.

Jayce DuBrule

People flood High Street to enjoy music and refreshments.

Jayce DuBrule

Jayce DuBrule

People flood High Street to enjoy music and refreshments.

Marissa Berardo, Editor

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If you skipped the “Downtown Shutdown Live” block party on September 29th from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., you missed a good time and might want to mark your calendar for next year. Crowds flooded downtown Westerly, which was blocked to traffic from the water fountain on High Street to Canal Street.

The free event, sponsored by the Westerly-Pawcatuck Business Association and the Bricks and Murals group, celebrated the arts. It featured rock bands and other musicians, face-painting and children’s games, and sidewalk sales.

Visitors lined up at tables outdoors to purchase grilled sliders and other prepared foods from downtown restaurants.  Water, apple cider, and other beverages were also available.

Several WHS “celebrities” were sighted at the event, including Superintendent Mark Garceau, Mr. Tedeschi and Mr. Kelley from the Art Department, Mrs. Larson from the Math Department, and Mr. Federico from the Physical Education Department.

A particular highlight was the musical performance by a Ugandan chorus called, “Destiny Africa Children’s Choir.” Though billed as a children’s chorus, the group was actually comprised of several male and female teenagers with fantastic voices who danced and sang to happy, uplifting music. Traditional African drums and instruments accompanied some of the songs.

By the time the skies darkened around 7:00 pm, the streets were packed with visitors. It turned into more of a 21-and-over party at that point. Because the Town relaxed the open container laws at the Block Party, adults of age were able to purchase plastic cups of beer or wine and drink outside.

In general, the Block Party is a good idea. By drawing foot traffic to the downtown, area businesses benefit financially.  In addition, money is generated for the Bricks and Murals maintenance fund. Participating businesses also donate a percentage of the evening’s revenue to scholarship funds for WHS and Stonington High arts students.  Mostly, however, the event is a fun opportunity to spend time outdoors at night, meet friends, hear live music, and appreciate the arts.

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