Federal Street Block Party is Saturday

  • Greenfield residents gathered at the St. James Episcopal Church on the corner of Federal and Church streets for the first annual block party. Recorder/Micky Bedell

  • St. James Episcopal Church volunteers Gerda Bennett, Elise Schlaikjer and Bernie Murley serve lunch to participants of the first annual block party on Saturday. Recorder/Micky Bedell

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/18/2016 10:24:15 PM

GREENFIELD — Trapeze artists, hula hoopers, jugglers and more will take over the lawn next to St. James Episcopal Church during the third annual Federal Street Block Party, being held Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public, and will feature food, games, raffles and performers from the New England Center for Circus Arts and Hoopiverse, with music by DJ Bobby C.

Dennis O’Rourke, who helped organize the event, said all proceeds exceeding the cost of the party will be donated to the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, located across the street from the church.

“Last year, we gave out several hundred dollars to different agencies,” O’Rourke said.

The block party began three years ago when church members decided to walk around the neighborhood on a Sunday morning to see what neighbors were up to.

“A church whose goal is to reach out and help people, we didn’t know who our neighbors were,” O’Rourke said. “Somebody made a suggestion that we should have a gathering and the comment came up, maybe a block party.”

He said a number of local businesses have donated goods, and four box seat tickets for a September Red Sox game will be raffled during the event. Students from the New England Center for Circus Arts will also perform at the block party, with shows at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.

“They were very interested in trying to help us reach out the community, and what better way than to have the circus come to town?” O’Rourke said. “We also have a person who’s going to teach anybody who wants to learn how to juggle, and we’ll also have a stilt walker who’s going to be walking around Main Street at the beginning of the show to invite people down.”

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