The Elmwood Village 20 Block Bash appeared to go off without a hitch. I arrived to the street festival shortly after it kicked off. DJ Milk was onstage throwing down a solid performance in front of a gathering crowd of people who came out to experience a section of Elmwood that some say has gotten the short end of the stick in years past. I spoke to a couple of business owners on the 500-block who were thrilled to see the action, and the attention being given to their corner of the world.
This morning I ran into the owner of Mythos who told me that the crowds continued to grow as the sun went down and the nighttime activities rolled in. During the time that I was at the bash, it was a very family-friendly occasion, and there were plenty of creative kids activities to keep everyone happy. I especially liked seeing the giant checkerboard in use, with painted garbage can lids used as checkers pieces.
The beer and wine stand was popular with the adults, as were the mammoth, green “EV” letters that were unveiled at the party. The letters will eventually be placed on the street, although nobody knows exactly where to put them at this point. The steel E and V were fabricated by Griffis Studios on the city’s West Side – the same artisans that provide most of the other utilitarian ornamentation on the street.
In the end, the smallest of details were taken care of. Like the bike valet parking for example. I love seeing these pop-up valets incorporated into events. It makes it easy breezy for cyclists to simply roll up, enjoy themselves for a while, and not worry about their rides. Street festivals of this nature are intended to get people outside, enjoying themselves. If the community is able to leave their cars at home, then that’s a good thing.
All in all, I would say that this initial attempt to close the street to car traffic and have fun was a huge success. I look forward to attending this street party again next year (hopefully this will become an annual event).