The Daily Iowan

Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

After a turnout of nearly 30,000 last year, the Block Party is expanding its reach.

Partygoers+sing+along+to+Billy+Joel%27s+%22Piano+Man%22+performed+by+dueling+pianists+on+Washington+Street+during+the+Iowa+City+Downtown+District+Block+Party+on+Saturday+June+25%2C+2017.+The+Block+Party%2C+hosted+by+the+ICDD+was+the+first+use+of+Iowa+City%27s+changed+rules+allowing+open+containers+for+select+events+downtown+%28Nick+Rohlman%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
Partygoers sing along to Billy Joel's

Partygoers sing along to Billy Joel's "Piano Man" performed by dueling pianists on Washington Street during the Iowa City Downtown District Block Party on Saturday June 25, 2017. The Block Party, hosted by the ICDD was the first use of Iowa City's changed rules allowing open containers for select events downtown (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

NICK ROHLMAN

NICK ROHLMAN

Partygoers sing along to Billy Joel's "Piano Man" performed by dueling pianists on Washington Street during the Iowa City Downtown District Block Party on Saturday June 25, 2017. The Block Party, hosted by the ICDD was the first use of Iowa City's changed rules allowing open containers for select events downtown (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Naomi Hofferber, [email protected]

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






For its second year ever, the Iowa City Block Party aims to roll out an expansion of last year’s celebration, introducing new locations for events and new programming.

Betsy Potter, the director of operations for the Iowa City Downtown District, said most of the changes people will see are logistical.

“We’ve changed the locations for a lot of activities based on last year’s success,” she said. “This year, we’re adding Clinton Street as part of the layout, which will make a huge difference as far as how people navigate the event.”

The layout changes will increase the number of participating bars and restaurants, Potter said. In addition, the sand volleyball court location was moved, as well as the silent disco, which because of its popularity, will last five hours.

The event was created as part of a strategic plan taken on by the Downtown District to better embrace the businesses in the nighttime economy, Potter said.

“It really opens up the conversation of downtown Iowa City as a place for everybody, even during the evening hours,” she said.

Party-goers have the opportunity to play Ping-Pong, mini golf, and giant Jenga, as well as witness live music, a circus-theme fashion show, a DJ competition, and hatchet-throwing demonstrations.

Individuals wishing to drink at the event can purchase wristbands for $11, and then they may walk throughout the event with their cups.

Despite the construction encompassing the Pedestrian Mall this summer, Potter said it would not affect the event.

“What we’ve done, and what we’ll continue to do over the next year, is to really just act as if the constructions not there, almost,” she said. “We’ll still have programming on the Ped Mall. We’re not ignoring that portion of the downtown at all.”

The stage located on the Ped Mall last year has been moved to outside the construction, but such programming as an outdoor movie hosted by FilmScene will still take place in the area.

This year, FilmScene will screen Ghostbusters in the alleyway. Rebecca Fons, the programming director for FilmScene, said the event is BYOC: Bring Your Own Chair.

The organization works closely with the Downtown District, Fons said, especially in the winter during the holiday Picture Show programming, in which a Santa for the events is provided by the district.

“We’re very friendly with the Downtown District,” Fons said. “We’re all fighting for the same cause, to draw visitors to the downtown area, so doing things like the Downtown Block Party … it’s really in our nature to do that.”

Jamin Langtimm, a manager at Sports Column, said last year the bar had patrons from afternoon until evening.

“It kinda goes all day,” he said. “As opposed to the nightlife, where we’ll pick up between 10 and 10:30 p.m., it seemed to be an all day thing. People were getting out at 2 in the afternoon, enjoying it, especially when the weather is nice. I think it brings a lot more people down here.”

Langtimm said that the block party introduces people to the local food and drink scene.

“For Iowa City, I think it’s very diverse, and I think that this block party kind of incorporates that into a melting pot for all kind of people who enjoy it,” he said.

Potter said they plan to grow and change the event each year.

Comments

comments

About the Writer
Naomi Hofferber, Arts Editor

Twitter: @NaomiSHofferber

Naomi Hofferber is the current Arts Editor at the DI, and a third year University of Iowa student. She has been with the DI since the start of her freshman year, serving as a news reporter covering city council and social justice issues, before becoming News Editor her sophomore year. As Arts Editor, Naomi aims to cover the unique arts culture on campus and in the Iowa City community.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    Is Iowa City’s Ped Mall worthy of national landmark status?

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    Big Grove executive chef named Iowa Restaurateur of the Year

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Crime/Courts

    Iowa City police request bids for cell phone-mapping software

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    Design, safety contribute to Harrison Street Parking Facility award

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    Gateway Project put to the test during recent flooding

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    The Makers Loft is Iowa City’s latest spot for homegrown arts and crafts

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    Public art is the focus of two local programs

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    Cyclo-Cross World Cup concludes a drizzly third-annual Iowa City event

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Crime/Courts

    Police continuing fall patrols for ‘out-of-control’ parties

  • Downtown Block Party comes roaring back to Iowa City

    Downtown

    New bus service connects Iowa City and Cedar Rapids