Block Party in the 'Burg
Downtown Harrisonburg welcomed James Madison University's newest students to the community Saturday night at the Block Party in the 'Burg. JMU's first-year and transfer students were treated to entertainment, games, food and more as they roamed around downtown.
This is the eighth year for the Block Party but after last year's event was rained out, the first that JMU students have come downtown as part of their scheduled orientation events. Junior Alcinda Brubaker said the group of transfer students she led around had a great reaction to downtown. "We enjoyed Klines, the photo booth, live music and just the whole event," she said.
Vicky Allison, student coordinator for JMU's 1787 August Orientation, said in her experience new students don't tend to come downtown their first year. "We've tried to introduce it to them right away so that they will know what's down here and actually be utilizing the area through their entire time at JMU," said Allison.
Main Street and Court Square were closed off so that students and community members could wander around and enjoy local shops, restaurants and entertainment on stages at the Turner Pavilion, Court Square Theater and on Court Square. In addition, caricature artists, balloon artists, games and a photo booth were set up for the students to enjoy. The Check-in Challenge encouraged students to stop in at eight downtown locations and check-in on Facebook places and Foursquare, both location-based social media applications.
Harrisonburg Police and Fire Department took part in the Block Party, providing students an opportunity to test their driving ability, seat belt safety and witness a live-burn of a room.
Kim Kirk, special events manager at Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, said downtown is a vibrant and growing community. “We hope the students will discover all that it has to offer as soon as they arrive to Harrisonburg,” said Kirk. “Once they are acquainted with the food, shopping and entertainment in downtown, we’re confident that it will become a huge part of their college experience and time in Harrisonburg.”
Allison agrees, saying, "I'm most excited because their experience is going to be more enriched because of this event."
For more information on Downtown Harrisonburg: http://www.downtownharrisonburg.org/
August 27, 2012