It was intended as a one-time event, but the Myerstown Block Party is back for a second round.
“It was so successful and popular that we decided to bring it back,” said borough spokesman Jack Cantwell. “And we really are very optimistic that it’s going to be just as successful and popular this year. It’s a really neat event.”
“We weren’t really sure what to expect when we had our 250th anniversary celebration last year,” borough manager Michael McKenna agreed. “We put on a bunch of big events …. and we were absolutely stunned at the number of people who came out for this one.
“A lot of longtime residents talk about how, decades ago, they used to have carnivals in Myerstown every year. They had events like this, but they dried up,” he added. “The amount of people who came out showed us that people are itching to get together and have these kinds of events again. We decided we needed to do something every year.”
The second annual Myerstown Block Party will be held from 10am to 8pm Saturday, Sept. 28, on West Main Avenue.
The event, chaired by Vince Podolski and Victoria Layser, will feature food trucks, a chili cook-off and a car cruise, which last year included some 120 vintage vehicles. There also will be a beer garden, craft vendors and live entertainment, including Bryan Stevenson & Red Beard Soul from noon to 3pm and The Rockers from 5 to 8pm.
New this year, Cantwell said, is an art booth for children. Sponsored by Steven Goodhue, the booth will be set up with a 3-by-3-foot canvas that children can paint on. Assisted by local artists MJ McFalls and Katie Trainer, the project will have a theme of “Caring Community,” and the finished painting will be auctioned at the 2020 Rotary auction next May to benefit local charities.
“It will be fun to see what the kids come up with,” Goodhue said.
The block party in 2018 “stood out as a favorite” among several events celebrating the borough’s 250th anniversary, McKenna said.
“It seemed like a really good, community-centered event,” he said. “Even in the digital era of smartphones and screen time, people are still itching for real experiences.”
The theme this year, he added, is “Built on Community.”
Cantwell said the slogan “is coming to life” at events that help spark excitement among people who live and work in the borough.
“Every time we hold an event, people come,” he said. “I think there’s definitely an upswing in terms of people appreciating where they live and where they work.”
It ties in, he said, with the Myerstown Vitality Partnership, an initiative approved by borough council in April to spur growth in the community, attract new commercial interests and improve existing resources.
“Our dream is to have Myerstown become a destination, like Lititz is a destination and Ephrata is a destination,” Cantwell said. “I think we’re off to a good start.”
Already, he said, plans are coming together for a new restaurant and a craft brewery in the borough.
“We’ve got a lot of forward-thinking people here,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said, people should plan to enjoy the block party, which last year drew a few thousand people.
“People are looking for reasons for the community to bond, to get together and be together, and to enjoy an event,” Cantwell said. “The buzz in the community was that this event was great … and there’s something for everyone. It’s just a great community happening.”
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