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Bloomsburg Block Party 2009, Party or a Bust?

2001 Block Party photo from “The Voice” archives. (Mike Owazany photo)


*Editor’s Note: This is a past article that is being republished in the spirit of Block Party.

Bloomsburg Universityhas a large reputation for being a party school. This reputation  came about in light of a party held every year called Block Party. Reporting for the Bloomsburg University Voice, Allison Miller reported in 2001 that the Block Party has been going on for over twenty years. People outside the university view Block Party as a very enjoyable time with loud music, profound drinking, food vendors, and an immense amount of students partying outside onLight Street. But, every year students from the university have negative things to say about it.

Joseph Calachino, a senior at Bloomsburg, explains that, “In years past, Block Party was a huge success but now, many people are too concerned about getting into trouble that some people do not even come out to the festival anymore.”

It seems that the amount of security and police officers keeps increasing. Last year, the whole road was covered with officers on horseback, undercover police, and even S.W.A.T.  teams.  Bloomsburg has even mandated specific rules and regulations that the students must follow to try to insure that less people will cause unnecessary trouble. Some of these rules such as, giving a maximum number of people allowed on the property and requesting students who have parties to pay for permits to do so, have left many students frustrated and annoyed.

Calachino describes his aggravation when he said, “This year I have to pay $50 for my friends to come to my house and party. This price is pretty extreme for an unemployed college student, and really seems completely unnecessary.”

These regulations are a direct result of Block Party in 2007 in which Newswatch 16 reported that around 110 people were arrested, with about half of them being Bloomsburg students. During that time, many reports explained that students were becoming extremely rowdy and throwing beer bottles at one another.  A video on Youtube.com captures footage of students hailing bottles at a male party-goer standing on top of a roof on Fetterman Avenue. The bottles ended up breaking windows and even hitting random innocent bystanders. This issue became even bigger when the police started getting involved, and it actually became a riot with Bloomsburg Police Officers against some of the students who continued throwing beer bottles. There are many more videos on Youtube.com that portray the scene of madness, drunkenness, and a lot of trash filling the streets.

Once the riot ended and the people were convicted for what they had done, the town of Bloomsburg decided to mandate more rules and provided more police to contain the party, while still allowing the Block Party tradition to continue. In 2008, Block Party seemed rather different than the previous years, with many more police officers present. Calachino reports that, “Despite there being S.W.A.T and an extreme amount of police, the day was overall a really good time.” Calachino continues to explain that, “The S.W.A.T van was parked right next to my old house on Light Street in the Uni-Mart parking lot, but they did not have to interfere since the students were acting appropriately.”

Tyler Seidel, another senior that attends Bloomsburg University, states, “I got arrested at about 2 a.m. Saturday morning, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the festivities,” Seidel also said. “All I was doing was standing in my driveway and undercover cops came and gave me an underage, a disorderly conduct, and also an open-container.”

Most of the students at Bloomsburg University agree that the police made a lot of arrests on Friday to instill fear within the students and the others visiting for the festival, to ensure that no one would cause trouble.

This years Block Party will be held on April 18. Most of the students will begin partying as soon as they wake up, but the parade should begin in the early afternoon.

Calachino says, “Last year me and my friends decided to wake up at 8:30 a.m. to start the day off right. We had a keg tapped and we were drinking red eyes, a combination of egg and hot sauce, to get fired up for the strenuous day ahead.”

Although no one can tell for sure how the police are going to handle the masses, everyone is hoping that the festival will be a success and that everyone will steer clear of trouble.

Related article: BU Now to Sponsor Block Party Information Session