BY PETER JONES
Englewood paints the town on Saturday, Oct. 14, for South Broadway’s first Block Party, 3-9 p.m. Courtesy City of Englewood
The slow, but steady, revitalization of a historic stretch of South Broadway in Englewood will get a sudden jolt on Saturday, Oct. 14, when the 3400 block of the city’s “main street” will be closed to traffic for the first-ever Englewood Block Party.
The hastily planned six-hour street festival will be a celebration of an alternately beleaguered and thriving section of the city that has lately seen a range of new destinations—some yet to open—and a new era of organic cooperation among neighborhood businesses.
“This is a direction from City Council,” explained organizer Alison Carney, Englewood’s communications manager. “They saw the start of the Final Fridays, which the businesses are doing completely on their own. We want to give Englewood a community feel, and one way to do that is through events.”
The Block Party had been in the works—at least in the minds of Mayor Joe Jefferson and some councilmembers—for months as a sort of city-sponsored answer to the informal self-generated business promotions on the final Friday of each month.
The free-admission party, 3-9 p.m., will boast everything from live music to putt-putt golf, with food trucks, face painting, temporary tattoos and a bike course for kids all part of the goings-on. A beer garden sponsored by Englewood Historical Society and Breckenridge Brewery will allow block partiers, cup in hand, to walk throughout the festival, unlike other more timid events the city has sponsored in recent memory.
The scheduled bands could not be confirmed by press time.
More than 50 local businesses and organizations—including Frame de Art, Devil’s Head Distillery, Peace Cellar and the soon-to-open One Barrel restaurant-bar—are slated to operate their own booths with an expected range of promotional offers on the table.
Such newer neighborhood watering holes and eateries as the Whiskey Biscuit, Brews on Broadway and Englewood Grand will be open for business, some with offerings that are not always on the menu. Broadway’s Moe’s barbecue will also have a food truck on site. A coffee bike will be wheeling around the caffeine-fueled beverages.
The excitement among participating businesses—on a block that at least one proprietor has described as “exploding”—has been palpable, Carney said.
“The business owners and those that were on our committee were really engaged, really thoughtful and very helpful,” she said. “You can tell they definitely wanted to see something that was going to work.”
Lighted inflatables from the nearby Museum of Outdoor Arts will help signal that this is perhaps not necessarily your grandmother’s Englewood anymore.
“They’re going to bring those over since half of the event will be in the dark,” Carney said.
While many surrounding communities, including Littleton, Centennial and Sheridan, have staged similar all-purpose festivals, the Block Party may signal a new era for the City of Englewood, which has been far less consistent in its outreach.
The defunct Englewood Days was old school in its limited appeal, while the ambitious 2011 Eats & Beats died without repeat when the city-approved South Broadway business-improvement district was dissolved amid acrimony.
But that was before City Manager Eric Keck and Mayor Jefferson took the reins.
“It’s the emerging cool,” the 35-year-old mayor told The Villager this summer. “I think we’re turning that corner.”
To accommodate the Block Party, the 3400 block of Broadway will close at 11 a.m. and reopen at 11 p.m. The intersections with old Hampden Avenue and Englewood Parkway will remain open, offering easier detour access to Lincoln and Acoma streets.
Although the event is expected to be annual, it is unclear if the city would continue to take its chances on weather with a mid-October street fair.
“We felt like it was a little bit safer than spring,” Carney said. “We’ll see.”
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