City sets Athens Halloween Block Party dates for 2015, 2016

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The Athens News (July 2, 2015)
Conor Morris

Preorder your Iron Man costume, perfect your zombie makeup, iron your drinkin’ pants, and prepare to batten down your doors and windows, Athens residents and OU students: The date for this year’s Athens Halloween Block Party has been announced.

Following some scrambling to confirm a date last year, the city of Athens has confirmed the dates for 2015 and 2016’s Halloween Block Party well in advance of Athens City Council approving any standard festival preparedness ordinances, such as road closures for the uptown area.

The big, famous/infamous uptown Halloween party coincides perfectly with the actual Halloween holiday this year; Paula Horan-Moseley, the city’s service-safety director, confirmed Monday that the block party will occur Saturday, Oct. 31 this year, and Saturday, Oct. 29 the next year.

The early confirmation of the dates is likely a welcome step for the city’s Clean and Safe Halloween Committee, a volunteer organization that helps plan entertainment for the block party each year. Last year, Jonathan Holmberg, the committee’s longtime director, was not informed by city administration until mid-August that the date for 2014’s Block Party was Saturday, Oct. 25, and rather than the following Saturday (Nov. 1.). Traditionally, Holmberg noted, the block party occurs the Saturday closest to Halloween (which was Nov. 1 last year).

Although Holmberg did not return a call Tuesday, Horan-Moseley confirmed that the city has already held one preliminary meeting with another organizer on the Clean and Safe Halloween Committee.

Holmberg had said last year that the date confusion was a result of not being consulted by the city until late in the summer; he and other organizers had to scramble to rearrange commitments from bands as a result.

Horan-Moseley confirmed some slight changes to the setup of the Halloween block party this year. She said that either two or three stages will be set up the uptown area for live performances this year. She confirmed that one stage will be on North Court Street, possibly near Courtside Pizza, and that another will be on South Court Street near West Union Street, but that the planning committee is still waiting for confirmation on whether the Four Loko-sponsored stage will return to the parking lot off of Court Street in between Attractions Hair Salon and Lucky’s Sports Tavern.

Horan-Moseley noted that two big construction projects probably will affect the placement of stages and the organization of the block party this year. West Union Street between Congress and Court Streets will still have a construction fence blocking one lane of traffic by Halloween, she said, and debris removal and redevelopment of the West Union Street buildings damaged by a fire last November likely will be occurring in that area.

A REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT for Dale’s BP at the corner of State Street and North Court Street could also push the north stage further to the north on Court Street, although it’s unclear if that project will be underway by the time Halloween comes around.

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