Amherst block party takes to the street Thursday

  • Crowds pack North Pleasant Street during a recent Celebrate Amherst Block Party. Dan Little

  • Crowds pack North Pleasant Street during a recent Celebrate Amherst Block Party. SARAH GANZHORN

  • A SHOW Circus member performs an aerial silk routine at the 2015 Celebrate Amherst Block Party on North Pleasant Street. DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Saturday, September 14, 2019

AMHERST — North Pleasant Street through downtown Amherst will become a festive pedestrian mall Thursday with live music, a variety of free activities for children and adults and food available from numerous restaurants.

The annual Celebrate Amherst Block Party, in its eighth year, will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday on a section of North Pleasant between Hallock and Amity streets that will be closed to traffic.

At Realignment Park, at the north end of the block party, local bands Buddy McEarns Band, Masala Jazz, and The Losers, a Tom Petty tribute band, will perform.

At the southern end of the block party, DJ Kaliis will be at the Peter Pan Futurliner stage, spinning music and hosting a karaoke roulette.

Students from the Center Dance School will perform a hip hop dance routine in front of the stage. 

Acrobats on a high wire will be set up near Kellogg Avenue, and nearby, people will be able to shoot hoops with basketball players from the women’s and men’s teams at the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College.

Among the restaurants that will be represented at the block party is Judie’s, which will have specialty pies.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is also kicking off its four-day Amherst Poetry Festival with “Doughnuts and Death,” which will feature the poet’s most depressing poetry read in the West Cemetery, with free doughnuts for participants.

As in past years, the event comes as there is concern in the region about mosquito-borne illnesses, with Amherst considered at moderate risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Ann Tweedy, the Business Improvement District’s marketing director, said this concern is diminished at the block party because it is held on a paved surface. In addition, bug spray will be available at the information booth.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.