The Gloucester Downtown Block Party, a citywide food, family and arts event occurring three times throughout the summer in the oceanside community of Gloucester, on Cape Ann celebrates its fourth year with a new spin in the fashion of that other hipster seaside community – Portsmouth, NH.
Valerie Marcley, co-founder and coordinator of the tremendously successful Seaport Fringe Festival in Portsmouth has come on board as Event Coordinator of the Gloucester Downtown Block Party series, which has drawn thousands at each event, organized and powered historically through volunteer efforts alone. Valerie brings a fresh perspective and some new ideas to help broaden the already successful community event to attract and entertain festival goers of all ages.
New this year is the introduction of street minstrels to entertain seated diners when entertainment on the main stage is too far from your al fresco table, a large family zone with more inexpensive and free youth activities such as sidewalk chalk drawing, face painting, games and interactive theater, picnic tables, street food options for those not wishing to wait for a table on “restaurant row”, an Art Street area with works on display and adult street artists, an event-wide 50/50 raffle, and the inclusion of off-Main Street Vendors in the areas not filled by downtown retailers.
Stages at Hancock and Main, and Porter and Main will once again have people “dancing in the streets” with live music, dance performances and lessons, spectacle, comedy, and even a parade down to a waterfront dance party. As always, and perhaps even more this year, Main Street will be full of arts and music, friends and food for participants of all ages to get out and have fun.
The change in organization comes with the retirement and relocation of two of Gloucester Downtown Block Party founders, Janice Shea and Erika Hansen. Their departure from the wonderful summer series has resulted in a new set of local volunteers coming forward, under their invaluable guidance, to sustain and grow this local calendar highlight.
Lorre Anderson of the Black Swan, Mark McDonough of Serenitee Restaurant Group, and founder of Farmer’s Market and Cape Ann Time banks, Judith Brackley, accomplished writer, Jennifer Goulart Amero, Public Relations and Marketing Director for Serenitee Restaurants and Lucinda Seigel join Linn Parisi, destination marketing guru for Cape Ann and event visionary Janice Lufkin to lead events subcommittees including local artists and entertainers like Dawn Gadow of Art Haven, Peter and Vicki Van Ness of GimmeSound and Henry Allen of The Annie.
Festival dates are Saturday July 16, August 20 and September 17, 2011. Information on performing or volunteering at the Gloucester Block Parties through Val at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information and event schedules go to www.downtowngloucester.com