Established in 1993: Bloomsburg Block Party


Established in 1993: Bloomsburg Block Party from Tara Freeland on Vimeo.

By: Tara Freeland, Maggie O’Neil, and Andrea Pugliese

Police on horses, caution tape surrounding houses, and excited students roaming the streets. The sights and sounds of Block Party 2009.

Block Party is an unofficial holiday to Bloomsburg University students and is celebrated within the streets of the local community. A few weeks before the spring semester comes to an end, thousands gather to drink and enjoy the outdoor festivities. In recent years, Block Party has moved from its traditional location of Sesame Street and Fetterman Avenue, to its new locale, East Street.

According to Bloomsburg University’s Informational subject file, “in 1993, members of the Theta Chi fraternity threw a fundraising party for the Women’s Center. The fundraiser turned into a ‘block party’ at the Sesame Street housing complex with students drinking heavily and sliding through the mud.”

Dr. Walter Brasch, a journalism professor at Bloomsburg University, believes that a real purpose to this chaos is really just an urban legend.

According to Brasch, the Sesame Street Apartments were not adequate housing for students. However, Bloomsburg University’s future plan for this housing complex was to be rebuilt into the Honeysuckle Apartments. “I do not support the school’s buying of Sesame Street, disguising it as the CGA, to build Honeysuckle when Block Party was at Sesame Street,” Brasch says. “It was at least confined to an area, and by destroying Sesame Street, it forced Block Party into the community.”

However, there is also a bright side to this controversal yearly celebration. At the end of the semester, students need to release the stress and pressure of finals approaching and celebrate the arrival of warm weather.

Of course, this needs to be done safely.

In 2007, police arrived in riot gear to break up a fight in which one person could have been seriously injured. This fight began when attendees started to throw glass bottles at a man standing on one of the roofs on a house on Federman Ave. Due to the events that occurred during Block Party 2007, security has now become a main concern for future Block Parties.

The rise of security during Block Party allows more safety for the students, visitors, and locals in the area. Party permits are now required by the town police if there will be a congregation of 150 or more people at a certain household. Prices of the permits vary depending upon how many are expected. Police are on horses, on foot, on bikes, and driving in cars during the event. According to BlockPartySafe.com more then 10,000 dollars is spent to have extra police patrol the entire weekend of the event.

“My concern is for the safety of everyone who participates in Block Party and, to that end, our police officers will be visibly on duty around town on Saturday, April 18,” said Chief Leo Sokoloski, Bloomsburg police.

On the Thursday before the celebration, police officers of the Bloomsburg Police Department passed out fliers highlighting penalties for underage drinking, noise regulations, and open contained violations.

This year, the number of underage alcohol violations during Block Party has decreased significantly since 2007. The underage alcohol violations totaled 48, compared to 140 that were listed by the Bloomsburg Police in 2007.

“Lots of students, lots of vibrance, lots of activity, very few problems. I think overall a successful day,” Chief of Police stated after the 2009 Block Party.

2009 Statistics

2007 Statistics

48

Underage Alcohol

72

21

Open Containers

19

17

Disorderly Conduct

7

9

Public Drunkenness

3

1

Criminal Mischief

1

3

DUI

1



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