Block party draws thousandsAll things Jamestown were out downtown Thursday at the College Community Connection Block Party. “It’s fun, it’s really cool that all these businesses and people are down here,” said Josh Knutson, a freshman from Milnor, N.D. “It’s just fun.” This year there were 95 booths and more than 3,000 people milling about First Avenue South to welcome to the new students to Jamestown.
By Ben Rodgers
The Jamestown Sun
All things Jamestown were out downtown Thursday at the College Community Connection Block Party.
“It’s fun, it’s really cool that all these businesses and people are down here,” said Josh Knutson, a freshman from Milnor, N.D. “It’s just fun.”
This year there were 95 booths and more than 3,000 people milling about First Avenue South to welcome to the new students to Jamestown.
Churches, businesses, organizations and other groups hit the street looking to attract workers, volunteers and members among the youth at Jamestown College.
Knutson said she was open to finding an employer.
“It’s definitely great to see the opportunities are out there,” he said.
For Jamestown College President Bob Badal, the event is about building bridges between the college and the community.
“We all meet each other and it makes the community stronger the more we know about each other and relate,” Badal said.
The block party has grown in its five years. About 10 groups on a waiting list weren’t able to get booths.
If turnout keeps growing the event made need to take on a fourth block, said Lisa Hicks, co-chair of the College Community Connection board.
“It makes me feel proud of my community,” Hicks said.
As the throng of students in bright orange T-shirts made their way onto First Avenue, many stopped at the first booth — Prairie Paws Rescue. The organization provides foster homes for dogs and cats and helps them find permanent homes.
“A lot of kids leave home and leave their pets behind and they need a puppy or kitty fix and we can provide that,” said Kaye John, Prairie Paws cofounder.
Prairie Paws signed up four volunteers and one intern at the event at last year’s block party, she said.
A few yards away, student Joe Fabro took in the action, but not as a student but an employee at Buffalo City Rotisserie Grill.
“I got a bunch of friends who work here now,” Fabro said.
Paul Butenhoff, general manager, said he hoped to land a few hires at the block party. He said college students work hard, enjoy a flexible schedule and can improve their communication skills with work at a restaurant.
Lt. Mitch Brecto, corps officer with the Salvation Army in Jamestown, said his organization usually gets a couple dozen volunteers from the college.
“They’re dependable, they show up when they say they’re going to and they’re ready to show up with all they can,” Brecto said.
Block party newcomer Coborn’s was making friends with members of the Jamestown College soccer team at a ring toss game.
“We want to have our name out there if there are students that are interested,” said Josh Vraa, general manager. “… Students, especially from the college, seem to have a lot of integrity.”
Across the street from the ring toss children were putting on goofy hats and making funny faces for a photo booth set up for Temple Baptist Church.
“It’s fun, that’s what this block party thing is about,” said the Rev. Randy Jaspers.
Eric Monson, Anne Carlsen Center CEO, spent all day popping popcorn for the event for the ACC booth
“We think it’s a good thing to participate in,” Monson said.
Several college students have worked at the ACC, which has specially designed schedules for students in the past.
JC freshmen Knutson and Ashley Barnhart from Kenmore, N.D., stood in the middle of the festivities and watched when a flash mob broke out while the college dance team was warming up.
“I think it’s really good for us to get down here and see what the community has to offer us,” said Barnhart, before she hurried over the see some dancing.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org