Fri Jul 17, 2009, 06:26 PM EDT
Gloucester – Main Street businesses and Gloucester artists are getting excited for this Saturday’s Downtown Block Party, and all are hoping that the weather will stay clear and bright this time.
With a beaming smile, Joe Ciaramitaro of the Good Morning Gloucester blog went around Main Street with a camera this week, interviewing locals and shop owners about their enthusiasm for this weekend’s event.
“What are your first thoughts when you think of the Downtown Gloucester Block Parties?” he asked one local, who replied saying, “Fun, fun!” These short clips are now posted to the blog for all to see (http://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com), and they illustrate the positive sentiment for the event.
The brainchild of Ciaramitaro and Janice Lufkin Shea of the Cormorant Shop, the Block Party committee has blossomed into a group that includes City Councilor Jackie Hardy, Erika Hansen, Linn Parisi and Vickie and Peter Van Ness. They work in collaboration with Blackburn Performing Arts, and emphasize the occasion as a community organized and community supported event.
In an interview for last month’s party, which was cancelled because of rain, Ciaramitaro said that the “star of the show is downtown.” The organizers hope to promote Gloucester’s talent and the ability to come together and celebrate the community. Judging by last year’s attendance of over 3,000 people, it’s working.
Last year’s block parties — there were two — were so successful for Main Street shops and restaurants, that the city has decided to do one each month this summer, making a total of four events. City officials, including law enforcement and councilors, have “really gotten behind” the event, and supported the grassroots effort.
This month’s party is going to have more of a “youthful” feel, said Ciaramitaro. Attendees can expect a reggae band in front of the Dress Code. In addition to the usual media presentation, there will be a community slide show featuring Gloucester-themed photographs submitted by any resident who wanted to.
Visitors can watch dance performances in the Blackburn parking lot and can take part themselves. Other activities include dining al fresco, shopping, watching jugglers, and enjoying local art.
“There was a very big response” to the art portion, said Ciaramitaro. Working with SeARTS, the Downtown Gloucester committee has put together an “Art Row” in front of the Cape Ann Savings Bank for local artists to display and demonstrate their work for no cost on their part.
Al fresco dining will be available at restaurants including: Elliot’s at the Blackburn, Valentino’s, La Trattoria, Dog Bar, Jalapenos, Passports, Espresso and Ambie’s Sausage Stand. Phone numbers for reservations are listed on the Downtown Gloucester Web site.
Those wishing to attend Saturday’s festival can come to Main Street between 6 and 11 p.m., though take note for parking, as the street will be shut down from Pleasant Street to Washington Street.
For more information on the schedule of events, restaurants, organizers, or to look at past party photos, visit the Downtown Gloucester Web site at www.dowtowngloucester.com.
There will be a rain date this time for July 25. Those who can’t make it this month can look forward to the next two occasions on Aug. 15 and Sept. 19.