MUSCATINE, Iowa–In 2009, in response to a national call to encourage neighbors to get to know each other better, the Muscatine Community Y’s Family Program Services department, along with other groups like Lutheran Social Services, and Safe Streets, organized the first ever Community Block Party. That year, and for several years after that, it took place in the parking lot of the Cedar Park Apartments. However, as the event grew, organizers hoped to move it to a larger space and started coordinating with the Muscatine County Conservation Board to hold it at Discovery Park. Following a one year pause due to COVID-19, the Community Block Party will return this fall, including more free family friendly fun than ever before.
Though the Community Block Party started with just a few participating organizations, it has grown to include a plethora of local organizations. This year, organizer Diana Broderson, director of the Y’s Family Program Services, estimates that between 30 and 35 community groups will have a booth at the block party. “It really is a collaborative event,” she observed.
Muscatine Power and Water will provide bags for kids to stow all the goodies they collect from different booths and let them have a look at both their new electric car and one of their aerial trucks. Hy-Vee will provide hot dogs, Lutheran Social Services will have snow cones available for all, and the Salvation Army of Muscatine County will have bottled water in their mobile canteen, making sure everyone who visits can stay refreshed throughout the evening. Many other groups, such as Muscatine Center for Social Action, Trinity Muscatine Public Health, the Muscatine Fire and Police Departments, the Muscatine County Girl Scouts, and Gilda’s Club will all have games or craft projects available, as well as information about how their organizations can assist families with all sorts of needs.
When families arrive at the Community Block Party, they will receive tickets to place in the drawing baskets of their choice located at each booth. Near the end of the evening, a DJ from B100 Radio, which will emcee the event for the first time, will announce drawing winners, giving people the chance to claim some excellent prizes. “It’s just a real fun event,” highlighted Broderson.
This year’s Community Block Party will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 in the Environmental Learning Center’s parking lot, right in the heart of Discovery Park. With a theme of “Rescue, Reuse, and Recycle,” many booths will provide families with information about ways big and small that they can help the environment and keep Muscatine clean and beautiful for all its residents.
Following a year with very few family oriented events, Broderson believes the Community Block Party will give people of all ages a great opportunity to have a safe and free night out. “I’m really excited for good weather and a really fun event,” she said. “I hope we get a ton of families!”
To learn more about the Community Block Party, find out what groups will have booths at the event, and see photos from past events to get an idea of what sorts of games and activities to expect, Broderson encourages you to check out the Community Block Party event page on Facebook.