For the second successful week in a row, the Downtown Merchants Association entertained local citizens and game day visitors. With music playing from the stage in front of St. Dunstan’s chapel, to Miss Auburn University face painting and signing autographs for her young “fans,” the Block Party is a hit with everyone in attendance.
“Business is great tonight; we even have the president of the Auburn Alumni Association (to make a purchase),” says Ingrid Brown, owner of auburnart.com on South College Street.
Walking into auburnart.com, there is great excitement all around with new products and unique Auburn souvenirs. Everyone is browsing around looking at the different works of art, and perusing the seasonal Auburn décor.
Walk next door to Toomer’s Drugs, where families are naturally buying the infamous lemonade to cool off from the humidity and heat outside from the concert. Michael Overstreet, general manager of Toomer’s Drugs, says it’s a great idea to have the block party because “it helps with traffic flow downtown for the businesses.”
“With it only the second week, it’s too early to tell how much it’s helped, but it definitely helps getting people out of RV’s and hotel rooms to show what downtown has to offer,” he says. Overstreet also says that the block party nights are easier to handle than game days.
Block Party attendee, Marcy Sherfield, says “I think it’s good for downtown businesses and their open for it. I think it also helps it’s game day weekend, it brings more revenue.” Sherfield also says she wishes to see more of a variety of vendors open in the future and that she would like to attend another Block Party again.
While “Mustang Sally” is blaring downtown, it’s hard to not feel the excitement from the store owners and the customers around. Restaurants are packed and stores are filled. It’s a sultry summer night, but that doesn’t stop people to come out and see what this Block Party is all about.
“A lot of people didn’t know about the first week,” says Judy Anderson, owner of Auburn Hardware on East Magnolia Avenue. Anderson says she thinks this is helping with downtown business.
One issue that repeatedly comes up is traffic and parking. “I’ve been really pleased with how traffic has worked out,” says Kelly Adams, publicity chair for the Downtown Merchants Association. Having only a portion of a busy downtown street helped with the traffic flow tremendously. East Magnolia Avenue was blocked from South Gay Street to South College Street.
“I think it’s a really good idea (to have the Block Party), because Auburn doesn’t have much to do on a Friday night,” Adams says. “I think it’s great it’s a game day weekend, gets people excited for the game tomorrow.”
The next Block Party will be Sept. 18, 2009, 6 till 8:30 p.m.