Neighbors Gather for Annual Datura Block Party

August 22, 2017 - 04:52 PM

For the 30th consecutive year… no maybe the 20th year… or maybe only the 15th consecutive year, friends and neighbors once again gathered outside on Datura Road on Saturday for music, food, drinks and fun.

“I don’t think anyone is really sure how long it’s been going on. Some say 30 years, but I’ve only seen evidence of about 15 years,” said event organizer and Datura resident, James Beck.

Whatever the number, it’s an impressive run.

After being granted permission from the Municipality to close the street off to through traffic, Datura residents constructed makeshift barriers with saw horses and began setting up tents to house an extensive buffet of food and drinks that included hot dogs, burgers, french fries with nacho cheese, and potato and slaw salads. Those arriving late brought with them plenty of delicious replenishments and a sundae bar was introduced later in the evening.

Beck used the website Nextdoor.com to help coordinate the event, and around 100 guests came and went throughout the evening.

“When you split up the responsibility of who is bringing what, putting this all together isn’t so bad,” said Beck.

Those whose last name begins with letters A through K were asked to bring a side dish or salad, L through R a dessert, and S through Z beverages.

The party included your standard tailgating games of Cornhole and Ladder Toss, and an oversized Jenga tower constructed of evenly cut 2x4s by Datura resident, Jeff Graves.

“That was the biggest, most intense game of Jenga I’ve ever played!” said Scott Herbert, a Hibiscus Dr. resident attending his first Datura block party.

A stereo system provided the music for this year’s event, though previous years have featured live music and karaoke.

Block parties are a fun and easy way for neighbors to gather, get to know one another and build a stronger community. If you’d like to plan one in your neighborhood, follow these few simple recommendations:

  1. Contact the Municipality at least two weeks in advance to request permission to block off your street.
  2. Coordinate your event using Facebook or Nextdoor.com, and distribute flyers around the neighborhood for those who aren’t plugged in to those networks.
  3. Divide responsibilities among the event planners for food, music and games.
  4. Schedule a rain-out date.

The longstanding success of the Datura Block Party provides a working template for similar events throughout Penn Hills, so start planning yours for the fall or next summer!

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