Around Amherst: BID’s Block Party taking over North Pleasant with music, more

Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2023

AMHERST — Two stages of music and live performances, joined by more than 60 tents featuring global food offerings and information and handouts from local nonprofits, along with acrobats and jugglers, will be part of the Amherst Business Improvement District’s Block Party Sept. 21.

As the event turns 10 years old, the main section of North Pleasant Street from Amity Street to Hallock Street will become a pedestrian mall from 5 to 9 p.m.

“This year is all about having something great for all ages, stages and beings,” says Amherst BID Executive Director Gabrielle Gould.

At the main stage, The Yasu Suzuki Method will perform during the first hour, followed by Acousticca from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. and concluding with Tap Roots at 7:45 p.m.

The showcase stage, near Kendrick Park and a collaboration with the Cultural Council, will have 30-minute presentations, beginning with Shaolin Kung Fu, and followed by Songs & Stories, Green Street Brew of the Local Vocal Chord Bowl, Wendell Warriors West African Drums, Starlight Youth Theater and Amherst Regional High School Dance,

There will also be Balloon Pop from 5 to 7 p.m. and YoYo People from 6 to 7 p.m., along with henna and face painting. A sensory tent is being provided by Autism Cares.

White Lion is hosting a beer patio party at its new location while The Drake has the Winterpills, Original Cowards and Fancy Trash starting at 9 p.m.

Though the event was first held in 2012, the Block Party did not happen in 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic when large-scale gatherings were prohibited statewide, and in 2021, when children under 12 were not yet able to be vaccinated.

Sene-Gambian Scholars Program fundraiser

West African tak-out food from Amherst Regional High School’s Sene-Gambian Scholars Program will be available Sept. 23 from 5 to 6 p.m. at South Congregational Church, 1066 South East St.

Menu choices are vegan domoda, also known as mafe, which is a savory peanut butter stew with mixed vegetables served over rice, and chicken yassa, which is chicken legs in a sauce of onions, olives, mustard, and spices, served with rice and a side of roasted vegetables.

Proceeds will support exchange-trip scholarships, with the students expected to travel to Senegal and The Gambia, and benefit the Amherst Survival Center and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts as well.

To order meals online, or make a donation, go to tinyurl.com/SGSmeals. For more information, send email to Bruce Penniman at pennimanb@arps.org.

New businesses

Taqueria del Pueblo will be coming to 31 Boltwood Walk, offering primarily a take-out Mexican menu with tacos, quesadillas, burritos and burrito bowls.

“We already do have two existing locations in Worcester, so we’re really familiar with what were doing with the menu,” Raquel Zelayandia, whose family owns the businesses, told the Board of License Commissioners recently.

Food is all that is being served through the day and until 2 a.m. “No alcohol whatsoever,” Zelayandia said.

Meanwhile, Julie Nolan Jewelry recently opened at 40 Main St., a storefront where Nolan is selling her jewelry and also has other products, including curated gift items and other items for the home.

Another new business, Be Awesome Be Strong, is opening at 160 Old Farm Road, Suite D. The gym’s mission statement is “to create a welcoming, inclusive, uplifting, strength and fitness space for people of all genders, sexuality, sizes, age, ethnicity or ability.”

Sunryd sendoff

A selfie station with colorful balloons and streamers covering a confetti-like backdrop set up at Sweetser Park was used as a way for colleagues and residents to fete Brianna Sunryd, director of communications and civic innovation for the town, before she ended her employment at Town Hall on Sept. 8.

While continuing to live in and work from Amherst, Sunryd is joining the Edward J. Collins Jr. Institute for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston this week.

Another recent departure from Town Hall, Finance Director Sean Mangano, is now the executive director of finance for the Holyoke public schools, where he is responsible for the financial health and financial operations of a school district with a $125 million budget.

Celebrate the Moon

Celebrate the Moon, a mid-autumn festival, is being put on by the Chinese Association of Western Massachusetts at the Woodbury Room at the Jones Library, 43 Amity St., on Saturday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Originating in China during the early Tang dynasty, the festival celebrates the harvest during the autumn full moon, to honor what the moon and its eclipse bring.

The all-ages event will include activities to teach about the moon festival and the lunar calendar, and how to make a moon cake. Arts and crafts related to the festival are also happening.

For more information, contact Janet Ryan, head of programming and outreach, at 413-259-3223.


MONDAY: Town Council, 6:30 p.m.

TUESDAY: Cultural Council, 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: Board of Assessors, 9:30 a.m., and Planning Board, 6:30 p.m.

THURSDAY: Local Historic District Commission, 3 p.m., and Community Resources Committee, 4:30 p.m.