News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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July 26, 2012

Downtown Block Party organizers out to build on success

TERRE HAUTE — Wabash Avenue will be the place to be on Aug. 25 when the 2012 Downtown Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

“It’s gonna be one big party,” said Ariane King, operations coordinator for Downtown Terre Haute.

“Those of us who work downtown know what the downtown has to offer,” King said. “But, it’s events like this that lets people in other parts of the city find out what we have downtown, and even people in outside communities can come to see and enjoy the great restaurants and vendors.”

Stretching from Fourth to Ninth streets, the block party will feature five stages for entertainment. About 100 vendors of arts and crafts, as well as nonprofit groups, are expected. About 15 booth spaces remained available for the event as of Wednesday.

“Last year, we had close to 10,000 people downtown,” said Boo Lloyd, an event organizer and owner of Boo’s Crossroads Cafe and the Corner Grind. “It’s a great family event that lasts all day and all evening.”

The whole reason for the event, which got its start under the block party name last year, is to showcase the downtown, Lloyd said. It’s for local people to enjoy the community spirit, and the event is intentionally scheduled on the a weekend that students are back on the campuses at Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, Ivy Tech Community College and Harrison College.

Lloyd said 10,000 maps will be printed for distribution to identify local restaurants, businesses, vendors and the entertainment on the stages.

Numerous restaurants line the block party route, offering a variety of food.

At the family-run Saratoga Bar and Grill, last year’s block party was a day to remember.

“In the 35 years I have been here, that was by far the busiest day ever. We hope it will duplicate itself this year,” said George Azar, co-owner of the Saratoga.

Lloyd agreed that her eating establishment was also slammed with customers.

“It was my 20th year downtown in the Crossroads Cafe,” Lloyd said, “and it was my biggest day ever.”

The block party was a far bigger event than the downtown blues festival, she said, and brought more people to the area.

“Our stars were shining great last year,” Lloyd said. “We just hope for good weather, and we are prepared for the heat.”

On Aug, 25, the Crossroads Plaza will have performances by Academy of Dance from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and by the Swingin’ Mates square dancers from 5 to 6 p.m.

Stage One will feature the Paul Bertsch Band from 1 to 4 p.m., The Crow Committee from 5 to 8 p.m., and Brad Anderson and Fan Fare from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Stage Two at Sixth Street will present Any Day But Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Dicky James and the Blue Flames from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Stage Three at Seventh Street will offer  a fashion show presented by Coca-Cola, the Lemon Brothers Band from 3 to 5 p.m., Erin Wilson from 6 to 9 p.m., and Mullet Over from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Stage Four near the Copper Bar and Terminal will feature The Pissed Off Catfish from 3 to 6 p.m., 4 Days in Space from 7 to 10 p.m., and Octane from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

A Kids Zone near the Children’s Museum will feature face painting, balloon animals and other children’s activities.

A cruise-in car show is planned for the morning hours, and a motorcycle cruise-in is planned near Ninth and Wabash by the Men’s Christian Motorcycle Club.

At 6:30 p.m., a cornhole tournament is planned between Fifth and Sixth streets. The contest is free to two-person teams, and several prizes will be awarded.

Plenty of parking is available downtown, with two parking garages open, and several area parking lots and on-street parking available. Wabash will be closed from Fourth to Ninth streets. Also closed will be the connecting side streets from Cherry to Ohio streets.

Downtown Terre Haute’s King said the day will be full of activity.

“There’s going to be so much to see, people are going to be walking up the  street,” King said.

“You don’t want to bring a lawn chair and sit around, you want to walk around and take everything in.”

To apply for a booth space for this year’s Block Party, go online to www.downtownterrehaute.com and click on the Block Party link. Or go to www.choosedowntown.com.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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