Lack of response kills block party

August 11, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The South Street block party that attracts hundreds of people from the neighborhood and downtown Chambersburg has been canceled this year because of a lack of response from vendors.

The all-day block party was planned for Saturday, Aug. 16, but members of Laurel Lodge and Laurel Temple, its sponsors, had to call it off.

"We're disappointed, but we'll pick it back up next year," said Jacqulyn Banks, chairman of the education committee of Laurel Temple 519 in Chambersburg.


Two Chambersburg business owners organized the neighborhood's first block party in the 1930s between what was then Cedar Avenue and Water Street.

The family-oriented event lasted a weekend and included church programs, dances and a picnic, Banks said.

The block party has continued off and on since then. The last one was a year ago when South Street was blocked off to make room for international food vendors, arts and crafts makers, a caricature drawing stand, bake sale tables, clothing and jewelry booths, and games, among other activities.

"We had a good turnout last year," Banks said.

Despite advertising and letters sent out to vendors and area organizations earlier this year, Banks said response was slow and late.

Party coordinators began getting calls from participants in late July and early August, which didn't give them enough time to organize, she said.

Banks denied rumors that the block party had been canceled because of an increase in crime in the neighborhood, including a recent drive-by shooting and drug arrests.

"That had nothing to do with it," she said.

Proceeds from the event go to the Chambersburg Community Improvement Association to help poor minorities go to college.

The Herald-Mail Articles