Tracy Sydor, EDN
The Whiteaker Block Party held in August of each year is just one of Eugene’s outlandish and entertaining summertime festivities. This was the fifth year of jubilant merrymaking in this not so quaint area located on Third and Blair right in the heart of the “Whit hood”.
The mighty Whiteaker force was something to be behold with as they kicked off the festivities on Saturday, August 6. The wonderful close-knit neighborhood provides the Eugene area with a warm blanket of friends and a very real sense of family and community. This years shindig was said to have drawn more than 7,000 party goers; An increase over previous years.
The Block Party itself showcased local businesses that came to peddle their wares such as The Divine Cupcake, Papa’s Soul food and New Day bakery, Ninkasi Brewing Company, CornerStone and the Center for Appropriate Transport, to name a few. This support added to the ambiance of the festivities and to the diversity of available food and entertainment; nothing like topping off the day with a treat from Divine Cupcake – a little extra sugar to get me through the evening.
A high point to the event was the fashion show with models strutting their stuff on the catwalk, showing off the works of local designers like Laura Lee Laroux of The Redoux Parlour, Mitra Chester from Deluxe and Kitsch and Delphina of Slash ’N’ Burn. There was a high degree of audience participation and enthusiasm for this favorite Whit event.
The music for the block party was of course awesome with impeccable performances including Bazil Rathbone, C. Three, Heavenly Oceans, Rare Monk, Man Overboard, Necktie Killer, Basin and Range, Tyler Fortier, Volifonix, Adventure Galley, Uncle Nancy, all offering up their sickest beats.
I have to say Marv Ellis and the Platform was one of my favorites of the evening and kept the crowd jumping and I even scored a 3 track cd from the group as he was wrapping up the set.
Street performances and a myriad of amusing distractions and activities were available to help carry even the latest of night owls through till the early morning. Best of all it’s free to the public. Witnessing firsthand how the neighborhood welcomed outsiders with outstretched arms and lots of warm smiles to go around really set the tone for the evening. Bottom line is you name it and it was most likely there in some form or another and completely entertaining.
If you missed the Whit Block Party this year, plan on next year – many consider this to be the real “soul of Eugene” party – very bohemian, authentic, and very Eugene.