BELFAST — Although it may have taken place two days late, Our Town Belfast’s annual street party proved worth the wait Aug. 9.
Originally scheduled for Aug. 7 (or the next sunny day), the move came due to concerns over possible storms on the original date.
If organizers were waiting for a perfect summer day, the rain date brought clear and sunny skies.
The event, which involved closing parts of Church Street and High Street, brought music, food, and entertainment to the many visitors.
Children had perhaps the best selection of fun activities, with multiple bounce houses, a climbing wall, a bucking bronco, and bungee jump among other attractions. The Church Street location was dedicated to children’s activities, and while the lines for rides were sometimes long, spirits remained high.
Multiple musical acts provided entertainment for adults on High Street, with some revelers enjoying the tunes enough to dance in the streets. Don Nickerson & Country Mist, Middleground, and DJ Erik Klausmeyer were among the performances. DJ Z Lite provided music for those on Church Street.
Presented by the Unity Foundation, the street party is run by volunteers, a feat all the more impressive given that organizers had limited time to secure volunteers for the rain date.
Three of the volunteers manning the information table at the start of the High Street festivities said it was a bit of a mad scramble to make sure all of the volunteer slots could be filled in time. The rides alone required 38 people to man them, according to volunteer Lisa Garson Smith.
Fellow table-mate, Linda Earls, came straight from her job at Bank of America to her volunteer post at the party. Earls, who commutes to Belfast from her Augusta home, said volunteerism is important to both her and her employer.
When asked about attendance at the event, the three said they had heard the number wasn’t as high as it typically is, though it was the first time any of them had volunteered at the street party. All three wondered if the postponement may have affected attendance, though Earls said they’d still been busy.
Garson Smith said she was motivated to help with the street party by her love of Belfast and the many events it offers.
“I really love living here in Belfast and have enjoyed lots of Our Town Belfast’s events, and I wanted to be a part of it,” she said of her decision to volunteer at this year’s event.
A love of the area is a sentiment shared by Debbie Murphy.
“I also love Belfast and I want to see it keep getting better,” she said.
Murphy moved to Belfast last year after she and her husband took a road trip vacation from their New Hampshire home toward a Canadian destination.
“We only made it this far,” she said of their arrival in Belfast. “We loved it.”
A love of Belfast and its community is the centerpiece for Our Town Belfast, which is responsible for a number of downtown events. The organization works to grow and sustain the downtown area, with the well attended events serving as a draw to tourists and residents alike.
With a goal of helping maintain and grow a dynamic, lively downtown atmosphere, the Our Town street party was yet another successful event.
Erica Thoms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org